In an effort to highlight the people who are leading colleges and universities across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to Edward Waters University and did an interview with Patricia Olivia Johnson 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. Patricia, who is majoring in communications with a minor in business management, is from Saint Petersburg, FL.
We interviewed Patricia, and talked to her about her 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?
One of the biggest things I’ve learned about being SGA president is that it is a selfless position. It is a position that often requires you to put yourself last and so many others first. Being an SGA President is almost like having a full time job due to the time commitment it demands from you, however the warm feeling you get from walking around campus and people being excited to see you is unmatched. It makes all the “lows“ of the job so very worth it.
What made you decide to attend Edward Waters University for undergrad?
I always like to say that Edward Waters University (then College) chose me rather than me choosing it. This is an AME founded institution and I do happen to be AME but I know it is God who ordained my steps into coming here. Attempting to transfer with a low GPA isn’t easy and somehow my institution made room for me. I always try to pay that favor forward because getting accepted has began to change my life for the better.
How has Edward Waters University molded you into the person you are today?
Edward Waters has taken someone who was once very rough around the edges and smoothed her out. I am so much further now than where I was my freshman year and yet I know I have yet to reach my peak of greatness here. EWU has made me more resourceful, disciplined, focused and determined. As a leader this University has taught me to be bold, passionate and a fighter for the things and people I believe in.
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?
A major initiative we’d like to implement this academic year is to amend our Constitution so that we can create and include a Director of Diversity and Inclusion on our SGA Executive Board. We are aware of the demographic of our students and want to be sure everybody is treated fairly and properly represented.
How is your SGA administration/school currently working on attending to the mental health of students?
Our SGA currently has a monthly program called “Chat and Chews” which gives all students a space to come and talk to SGA about anything in a less formal setting. Additionally, our Office of Disabilities and Counseling offers programs and hosts events year-long which caters to the mental health of our EWU community.
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership to me means making the space around you greater. It means having the ability to influence a generation of leaders behind you. Taking the time to plant seeds of wisdom and innovations that will grow into powerful beings. Leadership will not always be perfect but it’s the imperfections that you can learn from and make the environment around you better.
We now live in a digital world, what do you think schools need to do to represent themselves online in 2022/2023?
In this digital age we live in, every institution needs a strong marketing team. One who will know how to create a unique and creative presence for the institution on every highly utilized social media site. During in person and on campus events, universities should learn how to capture those moments through pictures and videos so that the work they do can be publicized and communications with off campus parties can be open and visible.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black students and college culture?
Watch the Yard is important because it’s for the culture. As a college student (and especially a Black college student), it’s so appealing to see someone who looks like you represented in a positive light. Watch the Yard also keeps their audience updated with all the latest content relevant to college culture. As a non-Greek member, I’m sure there is an appreciation I may lack surrounding the D9 culture and content but I must say nonetheless, it is amazing to watch and I enjoy learning about some of leaders Watch the Yard highlights.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
Attending the University of Miami and obtaining a joint J.D / LLM degree in Music, Entertainment and Sports.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Patricia Olivia Johnson for her work as the SGA president of Edward Waters University.
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