In an effort to highlight the people who are leading colleges and universities across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to Pace University-Pleasantville and did an interview with Kimberly Mars 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. Mars, who is majoring in Political Science, is from Jersey City, New Jersey. She a proud Spring 2022 initiate of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
We interviewed Kimberly Mars, 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?
I have learned the importance of being an advocate for those who don’t feel seen. Being SGA President for two terms has shown me that showing up for others and making sure that they know that they have someone to rely on can make a huge impact. It has also taught me how try to solve problems by using multiple perspectives and that there can be more than one solution to a problem.
What made you decide to attend Pace University-Pleasantville for undergrad?
I decided to attend Pace University because I wanted to continue the legacy that my father started when he was a student here years ago. After hearing about the impact that Pace had on him, as well as doing extensive research on the campus environment, I knew that it would be the perfect place for me to grow. I specifically chose to attend the Pleasantville campus because of the homey feel that it has, and I really enjoy the sense of community that I have been able to build during my time here.
How has Pace University-Pleasantville molded you into the person you are today?
Pace has really taught me how to be more confident in myself. As I look back on the years that I’ve been here I realize that I am a completely different person than who I was when I started my freshman year. Our campus always has great opportunities for students to get involved, and with the help of the amazing friends that I gained I decided to take advantage of it. In high school I never imagined that I would be more than a fly on the wall, but I was able to prove myself wrong and I can confidently say that taking that leap of faith was one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made. Pace has molded me into the type of person who isn’t afraid to take up space in a room and to let everyone know that I belong there.
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 I plan on curating more inclusive spaces on campus for BIPOC students. Pace is a predominantly white institution and I always keep in mind that the platform that I have been given should be used to help people like me to feel like they have a safe place to go to. I’m working on continuing an annual tradition that we created with our Office of MultiCultural Affairs called the Heritage Celebration, an award ceremony for BIPOC graduating students. This is one of my passion projects that I hope will continue after I have graduated myself.
How is your SGA administration/school currently working on attending to the mental health of students?
Our SGA supports the mental health of students by promoting events that are centered around educating the student body on how to care for their wellbeing. We are always looking to help students in any capacity that we can and make it a priority to provide them with on campus resources that can help as well.
What does leadership mean to you?
I believe that leadership means not being afraid to stand up for others, as well as using your platform to build up others too. I use any opportunity that I can for teaching moments, whether that may be for myself or for anyone interested in doing what I do, because I want to see everyone that I interact with succeed in life. Leadership is about sharing the wisdom that you have with others and realizing that the work that you are doing now can always be built upon.
We now live in a digital world, what do you think schools need to do to represent themselves online in 2022/2023?
I think that schools need to be more active on social media platforms, as well as monitoring the interactions between themselves and the student body. I have seen far too often that students voice their concerns with something going on in their school through comments on social media, but will be actively ignored in order for the university to save face and I don’t think that helps anyone when trying to get an issue solved.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black students and college culture?
I think Watch The Yard is significantly important because it does an amazing job at highlighting the accomplishments of Black college students. Watch The Yard is an important part of our culture because many media platforms choose to show only negative things when it comes to young Black men and women, but they combat this by giving us constant reminders of just how amazing we are.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
After graduation I plan on continuing my education by enrolling in Pace University’s Higher Education Administration Master’s program. After that I would love to work as a Director of a Multicultural Affairs office or a DEI Coordinator at a university.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Kimberly Mars for her work as the SGA president of Pace University-Pleasantville.