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Leadership Highlight

Leadership Highlight: Kennesaw State University’s SGA President Zae Brewer

In an effort to highlight the people who are leading colleges and universities across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to Kennesaw State University and did an interview with Zae Brewer 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. Brewer, who is majoring in Political Science, is from Snellville, GA.

We interviewed Zae Brewer, and talked to him about his position, goals, future and what it means to hold this type of leadership position in 2023-2024.

Read the full interview below.

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

The greatest thing I have learned throughout my term is patience and compromise. It takes a lot more than people think to make change no matter what position you are in and no matter where you are. As a leader, you realize that so little takes so much patience, persistence, and work. I think what makes a good President is not how much or how little you “accomplish” but the relationships you build and the pieces of bridges you put in place for change to happen long term in the future. As SGA President at KSU, we are only eligible to serve one one year term. While I have not accomplish all I wish I could have, I learned and very quickly realized that it is not always the quantity of things you do, but the weight of a few things that can leave a great impact on so many.

What made you decide to attend Kennesaw State University for undergrad?

I decided to attend KSU because I decided I did not want to attend Ivy League schools I wanted to stay in the state of Georgia to be close to family and to build my career in public service in my home state. The breaking point for me was when I found out the Ivy’s would not take my transfer credits from my dual enrollment courses and I said to myself that KSU was perfect. I love KSU, it has a great atmosphere and location for a college campus. It is right outside of Atlanta, the campus is beautiful, the people are friendly, and our diversity is powerful. As a senior now, I have no regrets going here and I truly enjoy being here.

How has Kennesaw State University molded you into the person you are today?

I think that being at KSU for the past three years has caused me to learn a lot about life. I think most people need an experience like college because it is the last time in life where you can be seen as a kid or a teenager but also have the responsibility of an adult. I notice often that KSU changes people for the better. Academically, the professors give back to the students and this is a place where the diversity of our campus helps you understand different kinds of people and their worldviews and culture. KSU has polished my professionalism, increased my want to continue learning more, and has taught me to always put myself out there, because you never know what opportunities will come or who you will meet simply by doing that.

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?

Under my administration, we have engaged the everyday KSU students with SGA and different departments and student groups around campus. One of my proudest accomplishments to the credit of my loyal and amazing Vice President Anthony Harrison was rebuilding the relationship between SGA and Athletics here at KSU. Anthony himself is an athlete and has been instrumental to making sure that athletics and student-athletes engage with the student body and the surrounding community. I am also proud to be the SGA President who has been key to the university in helping with government relations. I work for a State Representative and her office has been key in ensuring that KSU is known, heard, and engaged around the community, Cobb County, and in the entire state. We also have tackled transparency in SGA which was a problem prior to my election. We now are in constant communication with the KSU student newspaper (The Sentinel) and we have put in place many initiatives to ensure that SGA and the student body are in touch with their SGA and they know we are there to serve them.

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

I made mental health one of my biggest priorities to tackle as KSU SGA President. I am the son of a psychologist, and I have had moments in my life where I knew that mental health is important to the well-being of everyone. KSU over the past few years has faced the problem of access to mental health resources across campus due to our incredible growth in population recently. I made an effort to be the leading SGA President in the state of Georgia to have wide mental health reform at our public universities. I along with Vice Chancellor Scot Lingrell have laid out a plan that will likely be put in place long after my term ends to address the mental health challenges facing public universities in Georgia, addressing concerns from long wait times to resource allocation to rural universities, in which other SGA Presidents in Georgia have supported me in. My administration has also been very active in our university’s “Wellbeing Committee” focused on the health and wellbeing of students.

What does leadership mean to you?

Leadership to me means serving and helping people to the best of one’s ability. Leadership as I stated earlier is not based on how much or the symbolic accomplishments of how little you get done, but what you do and how you handle what you are faced with in the unique point in time in which you are in a position of responsibility. Leadership requires composure, professionalism, and being able to guide others on your team to ensure unity and effectiveness to have tangible results for whom you represent.

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

I think moving with the times is important, but at a reasonable pace. We are in an interesting part of time in the world and in history. As developments in AI and technology begin to rise, I think that it is only in universities’ and students’ interest to utilize technology to for the sake of improvement in education.

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

I think Watch The Yard is a very important part of the Black community and our culture because it offers black students examples of what they can accomplish if they just take a shot at something they are interested in. Due to the history of oppression and being excluded, it is a media source that is a safe space for black college students to connect and learn from one another through our unique stories.

What do you plan on doing after graduation?

After graduation in May, I hope to attend law school in the fall while continuing to work in public service and government. I hope that one day I will be a practicing attorney and professor by trade while serving in public office, hopefully eventually on the federal level.

We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Zae Brewer for his work as the SGA president of Kennesaw State University.

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