Leadership Highlight: Howard University’s SGA President Nia Naylor

By greatbritton


In an effort to highlight the people who are leading colleges and universities across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to Howard University and did an interview with Nia Naylor 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. Naylor, who is majoring in Political Science, is from New Castle, Delaware. She is a proud Spring 2022 initiate of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

We interviewed Nia Naylor, 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?

Being SGA President has truly taught me about my leadership style and how to be a strong leader while cultivating relationships simultaneously. Going into the position, I thought I was a strong leader who was very business-minded, but I wanted to truly create a family within my administration. During my tenure, there have been many times when I had to put my foot down and step out of the chill, democratic role to ensure everything flowed the way I wanted it to. However, I have been able to build very close relationships with both my cabinet and my staffers, which assist in getting the work done efficiently. Building genuine and authentic relationships has helped my staffers feel more comfortable coming to me with both concerns and ideas on how we can improve. All in all, the biggest lesson my time as President has taught me is how to be a passionate, personable, and democratic leader.

What made you decide to attend Howard University for undergrad?

I decided to attend Howard University during my junior year of high school after spending a weekend visiting my mentor, Paige Harris. During my visit, she graciously allowed me to shadow both her and her line sisters, now my pros, and I had the opportunity to attend classes with them for a few days. Each time I walked into a classroom, I felt nothing but love from both the professors and the students. Whenever I mentioned that I was still in high school, they shared all of the amazing experiences they had at Howard and encouraged me to apply. This experience, coupled with the fact that Washington, DC, is the best place for a political science student, solidified Howard as my top choice.

How has Howard University molded you into the person you are today?

Howard University has molded me in numerous ways, ranging from better grasping who I am as a person and how I present myself, to learning more about what I want to do in life and how I want to impact the world. Howard has given me my best friends, the people who helped shape me and better understand the meaning of love outside of family. It has given me a lifelong sisterhood which has taught me how to be myself even in a professional sense.

The administrators, professors, and staff at Howard have demonstrated the importance of showing up every day, regardless of my emotions, because I serve as an inspiration to those who will follow in my footsteps. Howard has compelled me to mature and equipped me with the strength to face the challenges of the world head-on, confidently asserting my presence and worth in any room I enter. Moreover, it has instilled in me the value of bringing my friends into spaces that I am invited into and forging connections not only for myself but also for others.

Howard has ingrained in me the belief that I am blessed to be a blessing and that I must always strive to show up as my authentic self, without compromise, in every aspect of my life.

, Leadership Highlight: Howard University’s SGA President Nia Naylor

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?

Throughout this year, I’ve spearheaded several initiatives aimed at enhancing the school and surrounding community at Howard University. One significant accomplishment was ensuring the completion of the Pride Policy, a vital step in fostering inclusivity and support for LGBTQ+ students on campus. Additionally, adjustments to the Homecoming bill which now ensures the representation of students and and other vital contributors on the planning committee.

Another impactful initiative was the establishment of the AIM Mentorship program, which provided invaluable guidance and support to students navigating their academic and personal journeys. In upcoming programs like Bison Meets World, I aim to foster cross-cultural exchange and understanding between HBCU campuses, enriching the campus experience for students at Howard and surrounding HBCUs.

Furthermore, the opening of the food pantry addressed a critical need within our community, ensuring that students facing food insecurity had access to essential resources. Collaborating with external partners enhanced the effectiveness of this initiative, broadening its reach and impact. The accompanying content surrounding the pantry played a crucial role in destigmatizing food insecurity and encouraging students to utilize this valuable resource without hesitation.

Inclusivity was a key focus of my efforts, exemplified by initiatives such as ensuring the representation of smaller organizations on campus. Notably, the addition of the University Fashion Council to the planning committee for the Homecoming fashion show provided a platform for diverse voices and perspectives, enriching the event and fostering a sense of belonging for fashion design students and other creative students on campus that do not belong to modeling organizations.

By actively engaging with the student body and championing initiatives that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion, I aimed to empower students to see themselves in leadership positions and effect positive change within the Howard and D.C community. Through these efforts, I believe I have contributed to creating a more vibrant, inclusive, and empowered school community at Howard University

, Leadership Highlight: Howard University’s SGA President Nia Naylor

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

The well-being of students on colligate campuses has been at the forefront of university administrations now more than ever. Terrifying trends in the various disciplines of counseling services have stretched our counsellors to be more creative in their approach to care. My administration has developed a meaningful relationship with our University Counseling Services in exploring how to best reach students where they are. Hosting workshops that tackle suicide prevention and ideation. Holding events that allow for students to cast words of affirmations to each other during times of peak stress. Placing together a task force to impanel a student run-organization within our counseling services office to address student health and concern. In this administration we believe that access to mental health services is a fundamental right for all students, and not just for those who can afford privatized assistance. Therefore we find it essential to use all resources available to us to help further this university in not only promoting world class care, but delivering it as well.

What does leadership mean to you?

To me, leadership means guiding and inspiring others towards a common goal. A good leader should be able to motivate, communicate effectively, make decisions, and support their team members in achieving success. Leadership involves setting a positive example, being empathetic, and fostering a collaborative and inclusive environment where everyone’s voice is valued. A leader also goes above and beyond to ensure that their constituents/those under them are learning to lead again. An effective leader knows how to follow and listen to wait others need.

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

It’s crucial for universities to embrace social media as a valuable tool for connecting with both students and alumni. By doing so transparently, they can alleviate tension and provide greater insight into their operations. Often, incidents on campus are brought to light through social media posts rather than direct communication with administrators. Establishing a team to monitor social media for such incidents and promptly arranging meetings to address concerns and support those involved would be highly beneficial. Following up with a post to communicate actions taken demonstrates care and awareness.

However, schools shouldn’t limit online communication to reactive responses. It’s equally important to inform students and alumni about proactive measures being taken, which often go unnoticed. By keeping the community informed, universities can reduce uncertainty and foster a more positive environment. Utilizing the digital world effectively can mitigate problems and enhance transparency, leading to a smoother experience for all involved.

, Leadership Highlight: Howard University’s SGA President Nia Naylor

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

In today’s day and age, Watch The Yard holds significance similar to shows like A Different World, Martin, and Living Single in terms of representation and amplification of Black Excellence. It serves as a platform where people can instantly witness Black excellence and the remarkable events occurring across the country. Whether it’s Divine Nine organizations establishing chapters abroad, HBCU students initiating substantial volunteer opportunities, or endeavors like a group of Black women at Howard embracing figure skating and establishing a dedicated organization on campus.

Watch The Yard stands as a media space committed to showcasing the achievements and strengths of our institutions. This dedication is immensely important to both Black students and the culture of HBCUs.

What do you plan on doing after graduation?

After graduation I plan to stay in DC and work in politics and campaign data analytics.

We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Nia Naylor for her work as the SGA president of Howard University.

Share this on Facebook and help us highlight Nia Naylor and Howard University.

Photo Credits: @obilohii @marlynachi



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