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Leadership Highlight

Leadership Highlight: Prairie View A&M University’s SGA President Gabrielle Orji

Photo Credit: Jayven Jean-Louis (@trilltint)

In an effort to highlight the people who are leading colleges and universities across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to Prairie View A&M University and did an interview with Gabrielle Orji 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. Orji, who is majoring in Psychology, is from Arlington, Texas. She is a proud Spring 2022 initiate of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.

We interviewed Gabrielle Orji, and talked to her about her 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 biggest thing I’ve learned thus far as Student Government Association President is the true power of connection and guidance. Connection does not just include working with your constituents, administrators, or the student body on legislation, projects, and policies. Rather it is about understanding everyone’s needs and creating viable solutions to together as a community. Being a unified force together not only encourages work that represents the concerns, but it guides us into the direction of achieving work in solidarity.

What made you decide to attend Prairie View A&M University for undergrad?

I decided to attend Prairie View A&M University because of the family-oriented spirit and culture on the campus. After visiting the university in high school, I was able to see how students had an unspeakable passion about PVAMU, and I knew I wanted to be apart of this illustrious campus. From the rich traditions of Fried Chicken Monday, Humpdays every Wednesday, and Catfish Friday I knew this was truly a home away from home. The campus is so beautiful and vibrant as the staff and administrators welcome you in with open arms, and provide endless support and resources for their community. Additionally, I loved being introduced to the different organizations, as they carry the lively presence of the campus.

How has Prairie View A&M University molded you into the person you are today?

Prairie View A&M University has molded me into a woman by helping me step outside my comfort zone and seize all opportunities. Being apart of this school has broken my shy shell and assisted me with developing more of my character. Prairie View Produces Productive People, it ignities you to not come from home expectating to attend classes and return home, but pushes you to grow your young adult life. Through my collegiate career, I have been able to be apart of multiple organizations, and join the greatest sorority: Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. Stepping into Prairie View didn’t just order my steps, but established my journey of truly serving the community.

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?

As Student Government Association, I am currently spearheading three initiatives: Washroom X Expansion, developing student leadership opportunities, and improving the structure of Student Government Association. Washroom X Expansion is centered around improving the laundry facilities on the campus ensuring facilities are clean, maintenance of the washer and dryers, adding laundry detergent and dryer sheets within the facilities, and collecting data to support the cause of expanding the laundry facilities on campus. Developing more opportunities for student leaders to develop their leadership skills professionally in social organizations and within their careers. Lastly, improving the overall structure of Student Government Association, helps us effectively represent our student body. It is imperative the legislation and body of work represent the student voice as it governs laws. These initiatives will improve the school and surrounding community by setting the standard of having the student voice.

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

Currently, Prairie View A&M University has mental health days in the Fall semester for all faculty, staff, and students a day of rest. Through previous SGA administrations, they have created legislation and worked with administrators on pushing the importance of mental health for our campus. We ensure that each year mental health day is added on all academic calendars, and each party understands the importance of the mental health day. Additionally in the Spring Semester, we have multiple de-stress events hosted by Counseling Services, to give students an opportunity to participate in many events such as smashing plates, yoga and mediation, music and dancing, exercising, and many more.

What does leadership mean to you?

Leadership is someone who can serve the community with a listening ear. You cannot lead effectively without the group’s voice. A leader is someone who understands the group and creates plans that aligns with their voice. Someone who is a true collaborator and advocates on behalf of their community. A leader isn’t someone who dictates the what, but involves the people in the how and why.

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

In the digital world, I believe schools should continue to have dynamic social media [channels] that engage students and community members with the business of the school. Through trendy marketing schemes and content can assist with the engagement of the community. Representation is key to make sure people are remaining connected.

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

Watch the Yard is important to Black students and college culture because it amplifies and showcases the young Black culture across the nation. Society does not expect African American let alone young African Americans to be involved in the community. Watch the Yard not only amplifies the voice, but it provides a platform for undergraduate NPHC sorority and fraternities to display their achievements and connect with others on uniting our communities into greater.

What do you plan on doing after graduation?

My plans after graduation are to continue to explore my career options. I don’t want to rush looking for a job, but understand the true development of a career. I am currently filling out internships to different congressmen and women offices in Washington DC. I am super ecstatic see what the government world looks like. I enjoy being in the room when decisions are being made and ensuring that we are representing the people’s voice in the room.

We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Gabrielle Orji for her work as the SGA president of Prairie View A&M University.

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