In an effort to highlight the people who are leading graduate universities across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to Benedict College and did an interview with Jordan Rice-Woodruff the Student Government Association president.
The position of SGA president of a is a highly respected role and there is a special pride that one takes. Jordan Rice-Woodruff, who is majoring in English, is a current junior.
We interviewed Rice-Woodruff, and talked to him about his position, goals, future and what it means to hold this type of leadership position in 2020.
Read the full interview below.
What is the biggest thing you’ve learned as an SGA president so far?
The biggest thing as SGA President that I’ve learned this year is that in the midst of a storm look toward the light from which your help comes from. I have learned that things are subject to change and change is okay! As a leader, you must never be afraid to stand up for what you believe in and never let anyone or anything push you off of that strong solid rock foundation your ancestors instilled into you. “For eyes have not seen, and ears haven’t heard all you have planned for me.” The notion of leadership is not for the faint or weak, but it’s truly the way you conduct yourself. I remind myself daily to be a bottle of water in a shaky situation and not a carbonated soda which will explode in shaky situation. Walk by example, lead by example.
What made you decide to attend Benedict College for undergrad?
As a senior at Dorman High School in Roebuck, SC, I never had plans to attend college. I was discouraged by my high school guidance counselor, which who told me that I would never attend a four year institution and that I should look into going into the workforce or armed forces. The exact same day that I was told that incorrect prediction, I ran into a college recruiter while going to lunch and she stopped me at her table. While looking at the flyers about the institution the recruiter asked for my transcripts and immediately offered me a full ride scholarship to Benedict College. As a first time generation college student, I knew nothing about applying to college or receiving scholarships. At that instance the recruiter had me and I was excited to share the news with my family. When August approached I went down to Columbia, SC to visit Benedict College and instantly I fell in love with the campus. From that day forth Benedict College wasn’t just a institution to me, it was my new home for the next four years.
How has Benedict College molded you into the person you are today?
Benedict College has molded me into a leader, activist, entrepreneur, and a power for good in society. I can truly say that Benedict College has opened doors for me that I never knew existed, as a sophomore in college I had the opportunity to study abroad in Ghana and that was a time as a leader I knew that my life had shifted drastically. From that very opportunity to study abroad, I have been offered the chance to return to Ghana after graduating from Benedict College. I someday dream to relocate in Ghana, to assist with economical community development and with hopes of starting an initiative providing resources for educational school systems in local Ghanaian Communities.
What specific initiatives have you headed up this year and how do you think they will improve the school and surrounding community?
This current academic school year I was presented with an initiative to assist our student body male population throughout the campus by conducting “Tied Up Tuesday’s”, which is an initiative that was started by Saxton N. Keitt( 6th Mister Benedict College). The initiative encouraged all students of Benedict College to dress for success by wearing a necktie, business and business casual attire. In addition to the initiative, young collegiate brothers had the opportunity to receive a tie, learn how to tie a tie, and the option to connect with a mentor within their major. The initiative not only impacted the campus of Benedict College, but also surrounding K-12 environments.
How is your school currently responding to the coronavirus and what is your SGA administration doing to help students?
Benedict College administration executives have responded efficiently to students and parents. In fact, students with no resources to get home were offered emergency travel assistance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the Student Body President, I am proud to have an institution where a Board of Trustees demonstrates its commitment to the students by contributing their personal financial resources to support our student body in a crisis. In addition to making sure every BC Tiger arrived home safely, our faculty/staff for transitioned to online classrooms practically overnight. We are HBCU Strong !
How is the coronavirus affecting SGA elections for next year?
While the outbreak of Covid-19 shook the nation at its core, The Rice-Woodruff Administration and The Student Activities Department of Benedict College has plans set for the SGA elections to take place in August. We understand as a team that we must keep our students safe during this time of the crisis, it’s our best interest to conduct elections in the Fall of 2020.
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership to me means having the courage and passion to lead a nation of Gods people. Everyday of the journey will not be sunny, there will be some storms, but there is nothing you cannot overcome. As a leader you will advance daily, there is nothing you will learn from just one student leadership orientation, we must refresh and educate ourselves continuously. Leadership is Historical Black Colleges and Universities!
We now live in a digital world, what do you think schools need to do to represent themselves online in 2020?
I strongly believe that HBCUs should use their public relations department and representatives to the best of their abilities. As historically black institutions we must remain aware of the current stream of advertisement and marketing tools. Our HBCUs should be displayed on every corner near and far within the radius of our institutions, representation is everything and when I am viewing a advertisement for an HBCU I question myself, “What stands out to me most about the institution? “ What draws me to this institution? “ As a student leader, I not only want our incoming students to have a personal connection with the campus, but also a connection that will be beneficial for our students to enter the workforce with a spirit of determination and excellence…showcasing The BEST of Benedict College.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black students and college culture?
Watch The Yard and various other HBCU media outlets are tremendous important in the collegiate community and surrounding demographics. HBCU media outlets as such provide college students around the nation with relevant information such as the importance of voting, global climate change, historical movements, and a plethora of other beneficial initiatives.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
After the completion of my undergraduate journey at Benedict College, I seek to attend Law school with plans of becoming a Criminal Lawyer. Once I conclude Law school, I have plans to establish my firms in areas offering services to clients who may not be able to afford representation and legal advice. Since I was a child it’s has been my passion to give back to my community, I will never forget the foundation of that which I come from…Spartanburg, SC will forever have my best interest at heart.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Rice-Woodruff for his work as the SGA president of Benedict College.