In an effort to highlight the people who are leading colleges and universities across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to Delaware State University and did an interview with Dave Hawkins the 2022-2023 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. Hawkins, who is majoring in Financial Economics, is from Camden, NJ.
We interviewed Dave Hawkins, and talked to him about his position, goals, future and what it means to hold this type of leadership position in 2022-2023.
Read the full interview below.
What is the biggest thing you’ve learned as an SGA president so far?
As SGA President of my illustrious institution, I’ve learned that nothing can’t be done without an amazing team. I can confidently say that everyone under the current administration “The Resurrection Administration” brings their own seat to the table. Having the ability to lock in with the team on intentional initiatives all while being a family is an experience I wouldn’t trade for the world. Here at Delaware State University we push out Hornet Pride and give back to the university, as campus leaders we strive to instill that pride in every Hornet that walks the campus.
In conclusion, I want to give a special shout out: firstly, the Vice President but most importantly my brother Jordan Spencer. Next, our amazing Treasurer Rita Williams she’s the glue to the family. My boy Rashaad Lathern currently serves as the Recording Secretary & CEO of his own clothing brand (FADE clothing). Last but not least, Rakheti Garrett-Mills who is not only the Corresponding Secretary but my best friend. Without you all, I wouldn’t be here.
What made you decide to attend Delaware State University for undergrad?
Upon my college-decision journey, I looked in the direction of Delaware State University first because it was closer to home. Still uncertain about pursuing college I took a risk and attended my first “New Student Orientation” and decided to use it as an opportunity to network. Knowing I wanted to be a business major the first thing I did was contact the dean of the College of Business. Dr. Michael Casson sat me down in his office and listened to the long-term goals I wanted to accomplish. We had a long discussion on important topics such as “pursuing a higher education”, “creating generational wealth” and a list of opportunities the university has to offer. At the end of our discussion, I asked Dr. Casson to mentor me and he had me under his wing ever since. He later introduced me to Dr. Wade Robinson who also played a major role in my success here at DSU, These two have held me accountable since we met and even when times were tough they’ve been the most consistent in helping me my journey.
How has Delaware State University molded you into the person you are today?
Delaware State University has taught me to live by no bounds. Upon my arrival, my peers and mentors pushed me to excel in every way. For starters, I attended a multitude of leadership workshops & events such as the Ebony Tie Affair which helped build my confidence, the ability to delegate tasks to others, what it means to be a servant leader, and establishing connections of a lifetime. This pushed me to join my first campus organization “The Men Of Color Alliance” (@mocadsu) which strives to educate and elevate brothers in not only their collegiate studies but life. Joining this organization was essential in learning about myself as a man. by breaking barriers of defining what a man is and learning to love your brothers and sisters. It was our university president Dr. Tony Allen who planted the seed for me to join and it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. Special shout out to Corban Weatherspoon, Tysun Hicks, Marco Robinson, and Job Albarr for paving the way and setting the example. After they graduated I became the president of MOCA and instilled these same principles into every member. MOCA opened my eyes to student leadership and gave me the platform to take over SGA. Similar to MOCA I shadowed under the leaders of the previous administration “The Vision Administration” and made it my mission to intern under Semaj Hazzard who was the previous SGA President. He taught me what true servant leadership looked like and always put the students and the university first. If it weren’t for his guidance I wouldn’t be as successful in student government as I am today.
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?
One of the initiatives that we’re proud of is our “Rejuvenating The Sting” Initiative. This initiative is in collaboration with our amazing Mass Comm. Department, we’re utilizing our radio station through the “DESU Radio” team (@desuradio) and the “DESUtv” team (@desutv) for marketing efforts. The goal of this initiative is to highlight all things DSU and give students the ability to not only showcase their talents but keep them “in the know” of everything that’s happening on campus. This initiative is important because it helps keep students informed of important deadlines, campus events, and announcements from the university giving students the opportunity to take advantage of different opportunities and fully utilize campus resources. From interviewing students on campus for feedback to allowing students to record students in our studio to give them a platform to televise their talents to a grand audience. We’ve recently had renovations implemented on campus and have TVs everywhere, our long-term goal is to give these teams the ability to broadcast their content all over campus to enhance the HBCU experience. For the surrounding community “The Resurrection Administration” is currently planning our annual Toy Drive that was originally established by the previous “No Limit Administration”. The purpose of this drive is to donate toys to the inner-city community in Wilmington Delaware.
How is your SGA administration/school currently working on attending to the mental health of students?
Our administration has been working closely with judicial affairs and our peer counseling department to not only develop a mental health initiative but an overall wellness initiative on campus. This will include making mental health an important topic of discussion within the university and all of the organizations and clubs in it. The first step in bringing awareness to mental health is by first starting the conversation and taking charge. We will work and continue to work closely with the peer counseling center on different methods we can take to best serve the students’ mental needs, and make DSU feel like home for everyone when there isn’t a home to go home to for some. The overall wellness initiative’s purpose is to implement check-ins for students that may not feel comfortable advocating for themselves.
IT ALL MATTERS.
What does leadership mean to you?
To be a leader is to be a public advocate for the community that you serve. As a leader, you should strive to better your environment in every aspect and inspire others to do the same for their peers. Leading is the gift to guide others on a path they may not see for themselves, a righteous path led by an unshakeable faith to create change for the betterment of others. Leaders are selfless, leaders are intentional, and most importantly leaders are servants to others.
“The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first.” -Robert K. Greenleaf
We now live in a digital world, what do you think schools need to do to represent themselves online in 2022/2023?
As briefly mentioned before, I believe what can make universities successful with their digital blueprint is by utilizing their student resources. Here at Delaware State, we have students that are pursuing diverse career fields, giving students the opportunity to apply their learning to different university projects. Next, give those students the platform to share their experiences and collaborate with them on social media efforts. HBCUs have the most brilliant minds let’s show the world what we have to offer!
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black students and college culture?
Watch The Yard is pivotal for the black college experience because it brings awareness to the rich history each historically black institution has. Our predecessors have paved the way for our generation, and every day we walk on these campuses we are adding to this rich black history. We need platforms like Watch The Yard to continue to create safe spaces for black college culture and give the world an inside look at HBCU success.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
After graduation, I plan to work in corporate finance in the tri-state area and fund my real estate LLC, during my undergrad journey I won a case competition hosted by the college of business in 2020 and used the award money to fund the company with my colleagues. This was a huge milestone for me because I’ve been wanting to pursue this field since my sophomore year of high school. Having the ability to OWN land and fund communities is powerful, I’ll be keeping my connections with the university close by becoming a life member of the DSU Alumni Association. I plan to give back through financial literacy discussions and use my real estate portfolio to help DSU acquire more land and funding. With the connections, I established thus far I want to push my network to focus on DSU & surrounding HBCU communities. Another piece of inspiration for me is people that make large donations to their alma mater, that’ll be me soon. In the future, I see Delaware State University continues to set the bar as the most DIVERSE & CONTEMPORARY university in the country. Don’t sleep in the hive because when you arrive dreams will become your reality.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Dave Hawkins for his work as the SGA president of Delaware State University.