Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” For a while, it could be said that N.C. Central University’s Student Government Association fit the bill — SGA was stagnant and no progressive action or advocacy had been done on behalf of the students for quite some time.
With that in mind, changing the culture of SGA and the meaning of student leadership was at the forefront of my administration’s goals. Coming in to the 2017-18 school year, my Vice President, Davanta Parker, and the rest of my executive board and I planned to set the bar high for true student advocacy and change.
Beginning with the 24-hour library movement that now manifests itself as the semiannual library lock-in and finishing off with the campaign to change the name of the Hoey Administration Building, SGA has worked tirelessly all year long to evoke meaningful and impactful change for and with the help of the students of NCCU.
Our goal this academic year (and my presidential campaign slogan) was to “apply the pressure” in order to fight for the wants and needs of the student body.
Coming into my term, dining was a major concern and our work began some much needed and hopefully continued improvement of W.G. Pearson Cafeteria. Specials like Taco Tuesdays and the Thursday sandwich bar started up alongside an upgraded vegetarian/vegan section. Outside of the caf, our pilot programs to extend Eagle’s Nest hours and bring local food trucks to campus saw major success since their initial implementation in February.
Campus and community relations have been another major point of pride. Improving campus security and police relations with the installation of more security cameras and emergency poles and our ‘Chat with the Chief’ initiative respectively made it easier for students to get along with and feel safe around local law enforcement. Truth and service was put into practice directly through student engagement with local middle and high schools, but we still managed to host other fun events like our snowball fight or field day to boost morale.
On the more bureaucratic side of things, SGA was able to provide students with vital information about current and future plans for both housing and our new student union. The ‘State of the Campus’ address, one of this year’s events that I’m most proud of, also demonstrated the administration’s transparency and let students know about other SGA accomplishments and goals.
Although our list of accolades may seem long, it may come as a surprise to some to learn that the fight was not easy.
At every obstacle we faced we were met with opposition, whether it be from administrators unlikely to change, students who were used to the inactivity of SGA or typical distractions that deter college students from success. We persevered when everyone else counted us out. Through the hard work and dedication of the 2017-18 Hopkins-Parker Administration, we were able to bring positive change to this university and pave the way for future leaders to keep up the fight. There are still a number of important issues that need to be addressed, but luckily I will be handing the reins off to a capable, qualified and confident leader in Davanta who will pick up where I left off.
Although my time at NCCU is coming to an end, this institution will always hold a special place in my heart for molding me into the man I am today and showing me how to fight for what I believe in.
Our goal this year was to “apply the pressure,” and I think NCCU felt the pressure and presence of SGA this year. Mission accomplished, pressure applied.