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Leadership Highlight

Leadership Highlight: Berry College’s SGA President Alexis Mitchell

Photo Credit: Brant Sanderlin

In an effort to highlight the people who are leading colleges and universities across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to Berry College and did an interview with Alexis Mitchell the 2023-2024 Student Government Association president.

The position of SGA president is a highly respected role and there is a special pride that one takes in being elected by their peers to lead. Mitchell, who is majoring in Anthropology, is from Austell.

We interviewed Alexis Mitchell, and talked to her about her position, goals, future and what it means to hold this type of leadership position in 2023-2024.

Photo Credit: Brant Sanderlin

Read the full interview below.

What is the biggest thing you’ve learned as an SGA president so far?

The biggest thing that I have learned as an SGA President is to be patient. The student body comes from various backgrounds and different ideas, with this knowledge I have also learned to be compassionate and gain agility in many different situations on and off campus.

What made you decide to attend Berry College for undergrad?

Berry College is a unique place where you are a familiar face and everywhere you go, you see faculty, staff, and students eating lunch together. The first thing that, I can remember is the family atmosphere. I was on a campus tour, during my senior year of high school when I felt a warm atmosphere. I felt seen and not just a number. That is why I am not only a student but an active student at Berry College. The community we have here has allowed me to grow so that is also why I have stayed at Berry, because the community that you make here is one you would never want to let go.

How has Berry College molded you into the person you are today?

At Berry College, our motto is “Not to be ministered unto, but to minister.” This has molded me to be resilient, determined, methodical, and have a servant’s heart. Being a woman of color at a Predominantly White Institution (PWI) has allowed me to connect with my peers, professors, and faculty on a personal level. They allowed me to take up space and to be my authentic self. I think while being at my college I have learned to speak out as well.

Photo Credit: Alex Ruble @rublevisuals

What specific initiatives have you headed up this year (or are planning) and how do you think they will improve the school and surrounding community?

This year as a team we wanted the student body to have a voice in what they want to see change here at Berry College. We had a Student Feedback Night where we discussed dining services, residence life, and student events. We had a wonderful turnout and students spoke their minds on these important issues that shape the student experience. This event helped the professional staff understand the student’s perspective and bridge the connection a lot more. We have also been transparent with student organizations and clubs about the budget and what ways the budget can be provided for their events as well. This is an ongoing process that the team and I are working on.

Photo Credit: @nicoklemntzos

How is your SGA administration/school currently working on attending to the mental health of students?

College can be stressful and tiring at times which can cause serious burnout. SGA administration and Berry College are constantly working toward better accessibility for students to get the assistance they need. The Counseling Department on campus for example, has encouraged students to use an app called OASIS. We want to encourage students to be observant of their mental health when the Counseling staff is unavailable at times. That is what the OASIS app is for. I also have the OASIS app as well because mental health is important to me. Another ongoing initiative that is at Berry is called the Care Team. It consists of faculty and staff that are constantly being a listening ear to students. As SGA and Berry College partner together on mental health, we have a hotline that all students have access to in cases of emergency. This hotline is given to every student when they drive into the gates of Berry College. Are meetings are also a time where students can express themselves as well.

What does leadership mean to you?

It means to be diligent, kind, and knowing when to lead and to follow. A true leader sows seeds and knows when to be a seed. Leadership to me is knowing that you can make a difference whether big or small. You are charged with the responsibility to be innovative and adaptable.

We now live in a digital world, what do you think schools need to do to represent themselves online in 2023/2024?

Schools have the rare opportunity to connect with future families and students in deciding on an institution that best fits their student’s prospective path. Colleges can have social media accounts such as TikTok or Twitter(X) to connect with the younger and older generations. I think schools have more of a responsibility to speak out and to connect with their audience. It is a firsthand connection, that schools can have access to.

Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black students and college culture?

Watch The Yard is so important because it ignites passion. Watch The Yard confirms that we deserve to be in higher education and that our culture is beautiful, and it is appreciated every day. It gives hope to know that we are overcoming obstacles every day and that we will be okay. While I am at a Predominately White Institution (PWI) it is important for Black Students to be passionate to create change at their institution as well. This platform is an important part of the Black Community because it allows the elders of our generation to see that the younger generation of Black Students are keeping the torch alive.

What do you plan on doing after graduation?

After graduation in 2025, I plan to obtain a master’s degree in Public Health in hopes of getting a Doctoral degree in Public Health or Anthropology.

We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Alexis Mitchell for her work as the SGA president of Berry College.

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