In an effort to focus on the people who find themselves main faculties and universities throughout the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to College of Tennessee, Knoxville and did an interview with Jordan Brown the 2022-2023 Pupil Authorities Affiliation president.
The place of SGA president is a extremely revered function and there’s a particular satisfaction that one takes in being elected by their friends to guide. Brown, who’s double majoring in Psychology and Sociology with a minor in Political Science, is from Memphis, TN. She is a proud Spring 2021 provoke of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
We interviewed Jordan Brown, and talked to her about her place, targets, future and what it means to carry this sort of management place in 2022-2023.
Learn the total interview under.
What’s the largest factor you’ve realized as an SGA president thus far?
Since I’ve been on this function, an important factor that I’ve realized is that you could be not at all times see the outcomes of your laborious work, however you continue to should persevere for these that can. I’ve turn out to be comfy with the uncomfortable proven fact that I could not see among the targets that our administration works on come to fruition. For instance, my administration has been targeted on internally and externally altering the tradition round student-led advocacy on our campus. That’s not a change that occurs in a single day or in the midst of a single educational yr. Nonetheless, the laborious work and dedication that we now have now will lay a stable basis for many who will take up this mantle after me. That’s the magic of management. We could not see all the pieces that we got down to do get executed instantly, however, sooner or later, somebody will construct upon the muse that we now have laid and proceed to push on because of our work. That may be a lesson that I needed to be taught and imagine all leaders should be taught for their very own psychological well being. All the strain can’t be placed on a single particular person with a finite period of time. Significant change shouldn’t be linear and takes time, so we should persevere.
What made you determine to attend College of Tennessee, Knoxville for undergrad?
I used to be born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, which is about 5 to six hours away from Knoxville. I graduated from Memphis Central Excessive Faculty, which is designated as a UT Flagship college due to the variety of college students from systematically marginalized communities that attend. Yearly, the workplace of Undergraduate Admissions and a scholar group, Minority Enhancement for the College of Tennessee (ME4UT) work in conjunction to host in a single day go to packages for college students from multicultural backgrounds and/or who attend flagship faculties like mine. These journeys enable college students from these communities to go to campus at no cost. I participated in considered one of these in a single day journeys throughout my senior yr of highschool and knew that UT was the place I’d be after commencement. Once I toured different faculties of UT’s dimension, I didn’t expertise a university go to that was particularly catered to me as a multicultural scholar. To me, this expertise felt designed to not solely be clear concerning the obstacles I’d face, but additionally present details about the assets accessible for me to beat these obstacles. Having the ability to attend this go to set UT other than my different school choices and made me understand that if I needed a neighborhood and a household that might at all times have my again as I navigated school, then the College of Tennessee was the place I wanted to be. This journey was so invaluable to me that when I began attending the College of Tennessee, I turned a member of ME4UT and help with planning the identical journeys that led to me selecting UT.
How has College of Tennessee, Knoxville molded you into the particular person you might be immediately?
Once I started my first yr at UT, I used to be quiet and had no concept what management meant for me. I used to be by no means the scholar who dreamed of being SGA president and I didn’t think about myself to suit the “mildew” of what folks considered once they heard the world chief. Nonetheless, my time at UT taught me that’s okay. Being at UT has molded me into an individual that sees the facility in quiet confidence and being introverted. I’ve realized that I would not have to alter who I’m and the way I get issues executed due to the societal notion of what being a frontrunner seems like. I don’t need to at all times have the precise solutions or be the loudest particular person within the room, however I can stand sturdy in my energy to know what the others round me want and the way I may help them accomplish their targets. I’d not be within the place that I’m immediately with out studying this lesson.
What particular initiatives have you ever headed up this yr (or are planning) and the way do you assume they are going to enhance the varsity and surrounding neighborhood?
Throughout election season, our marketing campaign seen how disconnected our campus neighborhood was from Pupil Authorities and the election course of. We ran on coverage pillars aimed toward internally and externally constructing neighborhood between all elements of SGA, college students, and school. This aim translated into our present administration pillars: advocate, inform, and join. All initiatives that we placed on align with our general aim to both: advocate for scholar pursuits, inform college students about assets accessible, or rework connections. One essential occasion we now have been working in the direction of is a collaboration with our graduate scholar counterpart, Graduate Pupil Senate, on a city corridor for undergraduate and graduate college students to precise considerations and listen to from campus leaders. One other initiative we simply completed was the restructuring of our yearly retreat, which is designed to attach college students from all of our completely different branches and inform them of SGA. As an alternative of a lecture-style occasion, we hosted a aggressive, team-building occasion just like Disney Channel video games. Lastly, primarily based on scholar advocacy that has been executed constantly inside and out of doors of SGA, we hope to start a pilot program quickly for college students to have free entry to menstrual merchandise. General, these initiatives and plenty of extra are centered round our administration’s aim bridging the hole between SGA and the campus neighborhood via our programming, aiming to construct stronger bonds so college students know that we exist for his or her betterment.
How is your SGA administration/college at the moment engaged on attending to the psychological well being of scholars?
At the moment, our SGA administration is within the planning phases of internet hosting an intergroup dialogue occasion centered across the ideas and experiences of multicultural college students relating to psychological well being and our college’s Counseling Heart. For UT, the pandemic shed a lightweight on the gaps that our psychological well being companies have, particularly because it pertains to college students of coloration and college students who’re members of the LGBTQ+ neighborhood. This occasion, together with numerous campus departments together with Multicultural Pupil Life, Pleasure Heart, and the Psychology Division, is aimed toward taking a community-centered method to how we speak about psychological well being on our campus. From this occasion, we goal to provide college students not solely an area to be heard, but additionally collect knowledge that can inform the programming and assets that the Counseling Heart presents sooner or later. That is the primary of many who we’re taking at UT to higher attend to the psychological well being of our college students, particularly those that want it probably the most.
What does management imply to you?
To me, management means taking on the duty to enterprise via the unknown in service of others. On the College of Tennessee, volunteerism is central to our campus tradition and we confer with management as “bearing the torch.” In school, and in life, there are such a lot of unknowns and to be a frontrunner means bearing the torch and braving this uncertainty to be of service to anybody who wants it. The torch of management represents all the information, expertise, classes, and assets that you simply acquire all through your life and should be used to information others as they navigate their very own challenges. Being a frontrunner means not simply placing others above your self, however taking duty for serving to these round you develop, in order that they might bear that torch someday themselves. Management isn’t just about what you accomplish within the current; it’s about those that got here earlier than you to put the muse and those that will come after to proceed the work that must be executed.
We now dwell in a digital world, what do you assume faculties must do to characterize themselves on-line in 2022/2023?
In immediately’s digital world, campuses should meet college students the place they’re at. Through the pandemic, we noticed how instrumental social media was in how college students obtained their info and voiced their opinions. We additionally noticed the burnout that resulted from elevated utilization of on-line studying. I imagine exercising artistic choices that seize college students’ consideration is a good way to not solely characterize the campus and its mission but additionally enhance accessibility to college students. UT does a fantastic job at using social media and promoting that engages college students, together with interactive social media campaigns. In our SGA, we make the most of our web site and social media to advertise our occasions in enjoyable movies and interactive campaigns as effectively, moderately than the same old graphics. Using these artistic choices which can be enjoyable and embrace college students is a good way to make sure universities keep related as society turns into extra digital.
Why do you assume Watch The Yard is essential to Black college students and school tradition?
Watch The Yard is essential as a result of it exemplifies the true variety of the Black neighborhood and our school tradition. There’s not one story that really defines the experiences that each Black scholar goes via, so having a platform that showcases tales from throughout the nation is immensely essential. Having the ability to be taught from and witness the successes and challenges that occur at different campuses via Watch The Yard is invaluable and serves as a strategy to higher perceive and join with one another.
What do you propose on doing after commencement?
After commencement, I plan to attend graduate college in psychology with the last word aim of changing into a psychologist. My analysis pursuits are centered across the psychological influence of systemic inequality and social coverage on the psychological well being of individuals from marginalized populations, aiming to check how particular person views can influence social coverage and in flip how establishments can additional systemic hurt. General, numerous work must be executed to acknowledge and deal with the psychological well being dangers and stigma that has developed in communities of coloration by the hands of coverage, so I need to dedicate my profession to researching and addressing this drawback.
We at Watch The Yard want to commend Jordan Brown for her work because the SGA president of College of Tennessee, Knoxville.