In an effort to highlight the people who are leading colleges and universities across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to Fisk University and did an interview with Daikerra Sweat 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. Sweat, who is majoring in Psychology, is from Lexington.
We interviewed Daikerra Sweat, 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?
The biggest thing I have learned as an SGA President thus far is that you have to start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you start seeing yourself doing the impossible. I have also learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life but by the obstacles which we must overcome.
What made you decide to attend Fisk University for undergrad?
We as Fiskites like to think that we didn’t choose Fisk, Fisk chose us! Truly for me Fisk has been a blessing. I chose Fisk because of the small, family oriented nature that gave me the Fisk Fever to want to earn my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at this institution for the next four years. I am originally from Lexington, Kentucky which is three hours and thirty minutes from Fisk and so it wasn’t too close to home but it wasn’t that far. Fisk also at the time had a 12:1 student – teacher ratio which allowed me to receive a stable and well developed learning environment.
How has Fisk University molded you into the person you are today?
Fisk has molded me into the leader I am today because I have had sons and daughters forever on the alter that have came before me. I have immersed myself into opportunities since my freshman year and from there I took off. Not because of myself but because of the faculty, staff and administration whom have poured into my success and even my failures that were just learning lessons along the way. A special shoutout to Mrs.Latreace Wells, the Assistant Vice President Of the Office Of Career Planning and Development. She is the epitome of a change agent, pace maker and trendsetter at our Illustrious Institution and because of her mentorship, coaching and knowledge that she has embarked upon I am now a successful young lady whom has a game plan and is ready for what life has to offer.
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?
Specific Initiatives I have headed up this year would be our “Its the safe zone” event. Which gave students and the Nashville black community a safe space to hear from panelists:(Student leaders) and Licensed therapist a safe to discuss mental health from the perspective of royal court, playing a sport, being a member of SGA and even a member of the NPHC. I truly think it is important if students and even the Nashville community understand that these positions and titles are not suppose to make or break you because in front of the word leader comes student and we are all students first we just are walking different journeys. This event also provided a safe space for open discussion to gain resources around mental health. At this event we also had a Black vote, Black Voice panel that spoke about the importance of the black vote and why we as college students should vote. Lastly, we had the chance to invite black local vendors and businesses to support one another. We partnered with the Divah Filez which is the number one virtual HBCU Magazine Organization where we then had Trina the Rockstar perform along with special guest Nia Amber.
Another initiative I plan to head up is Fisk Service before self, I plan to do a few campus clean ups and community service projects so that we can serve not only our campus but the Nashville community.
I also plan to host a class wars event with all of the different classes at Fisk (26,25,24,23) so that we can network within our own peers and learn more about one another’s class.
Lastly, I have started the Remind 101 Initiative to keep students in the know about things happening on campus and alert about specific events going on.
How is your SGA administration/school currently working on attending to the mental health of students?
We plan to incorporate mental health days throughout the academic calendar for students to take breaks and just have a personal day off.
We also offer free counseling services to all students and we promote the services and share resources that are available.
We also plan to have more open discussions and panels that contribute to mental health and will continue to provide our students support and success along there matriculation here at Fisk.
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership means a few different things. One, I think it means you bring others around you up. Great leaders have a way of supporting others and making them more productive and effective. Two, I think leadership means you put people in the right place at the right time. It’s tough, but when you help someone find their “groove” and you let them stay there, they excel. Third, leadership means you trust and respect those that you work with. If you don’t trust someone (or at least give them a shot), there is no way they can be a productive part of your team. Four, leadership means inspiring others to work together toward a common goal. It encourages and enables people to do their best work. Leadership is understanding your own strengths and weaknesses as well as those of the team, then leveraging individual strengths to compensate for individual weaknesses and overcome insurmountable challenges. It is recognizing that a team is more than the sum of its parts, and people work best when they work together.
We now live in a digital world, what do you think schools need to do to represent themselves online in 2022/2023?
Schools need to be more creative and open to social media usage. Utilizing platforms such as tiktok or Instagram lives or twitter makes a school more appealing and not only for sports, Greek life or specific teams but showing the livelihood in academics.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black students and college culture?
Watch The Yard is extremely important to Black students and college culture because it allows us to have an inside glance into the life of the college culture. It gives high school students that may be undecided between an HBCU and a PWI the opportunity to look and maybe make an academic decision based off an article or video they may have seen. Watch the Yard is so important because it highlights Black Excellence and it shows that we can do great things and excel in spaces and places that may not have been for us.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
After graduation I plan to work in the field of Human Resources, specifically doing the work of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. I also plan to attend graduate school and earn my Masters in Social Work at another HBCU.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Daikerra Sweat for her work as the SGA president of Fisk University.