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Incoming HUSA President Q&a with Jordyn Allen

Jordyn Allen is this year’s incoming HUSA President for the 62nd administration. She is serving with Vice President Eryka Anabell Clarke. Allen is a junior marketing major with aspirations of becoming an attorney. At Howard University, Allen has served as Chief of Staff intern, HUSA senate Vice Chairperson, and HUSA senate Acting Chair. Allen and Clarke ran a campaign entitled “The Dream.” This campaign promoted students living the dream of what Howard should be. From this, Allen has decided to take on the challenge to elevate the Howard community for both students and faculty.

The Hilltop:What motivated you to run for HUSA President?

Allen: The state of the student experience at Howard. I always told myself that becoming HUSA president was never for me even though I’ve been very active in student government, but after coming back during the pandemic it was the thought that the Howard experience that I was receiving was not what I had expected. I had spoken to a lot of my colleagues and they had the same sentiments. Somebody has to step up to revitalize the culture and the experience at Howard.

The Hilltop: As people who lead the change and progression of Howard University, what changes do you hope to see in Howard’s near future? 

Allen: My parents both attended FAMU [Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University]. The Howard experience is different from the experience in the south. There are a lot of experiences students come to Howard and expect to see.What I hope to see in the future is Howard staying this prestigious institution where everybody is striving to get the bag and striving to be successful but also where we can get out and relax, enjoy the Black college experience on a weekly and really a daily basis.What I see from Howard is integrating more southern HBCU aspects while not making it an HBCU from the south. I think there’s an expectation in what we think the HBCU experience should be and we’re not necessarily getting that full experience right now.

The Hilltop:What are some traditions you hope to continue from the 61st administration? Also what traditions do you all hope to start in your campaign?

Allen: One of them is the pop-up shops that I’m sure you’re familiar with. We have a lot of student entrepreneurs and student’s small businesses on campus and they really just want the opportunity to expose more students to their brand. We definitely plan to continue that, but we plan to continue it and partner it with our yard takeover Fridays. That’ll be very similar to first Friday but when it’s warm outside or the weather is conducive it will be on the yard and you won’t have to sign up, it’ll be a known thing like it’s Friday and I can go set up my vendor on the yard if that’s what I want to do. Students don’t have to wait for HUSA to create a pop-up shop. That’s something we hope to continue from the 61st administration.What traditions we hope to start is an increase of support for athletes and also increasing the school spirit on campus. We believe that starts with athletic games, so we want to work with cheerleaders as well as with the band to increase the awareness of dances like “get up” or “neck”so when we go to those athletic games we want to see students in the stands doing the same dances. That’s what we see in the south as well as even PWIs so we want to create that experience for students at Howard as well.

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The Hilltop: How does your administration plan to bridge the gap between students, administration, and faculty?

Allen: I think that’s a great question. We want to make faculty more accessible to students but also make students more accessible to faculty. One thing that we plan to do is we have a quota on the different demographics of students that have to sit on committees because that is something that HUSA has an opportunity to do. To choose students who are in the room because we want to make sure that everybody is represented. We think that bridges the gap because currently a lot of student leadership choose their friends to sit on the different boards,which keeps information very much so in a bubble. Another thing that we plan to do is to humanize the President. Right now there’s a terrible relationship with President Frederick and the student body. It’s not necessarily purposeful; there is a lot that has occurred over the past three years that has created that barrier. On his way out, we want to bridge the gap between students and the President because we think that that relationship could be better in creating more opportunities for President Frederick to interact with students in a more humane way. He can walk on the yard and he can have lunch with students which he currently does. We want to increase the opportunity for students to get to know him.

The Hilltop: How has your experience in the Senate shaped or prepared you for this position?

Allen: Thank you for this question because I love the Senate. I have served the past two years and it has been an amazing experience. The Senate was a body that wasn’t necessarily known on campus, frankly, it still has some work to do. The way it has shaped and prepared me is it taught me how to stand up for what is right. It also taught me how it felt when other student leaders don’t understand the purpose or the place of the Senate. It prepared me for this role because it changed the perspective that I had for the HUSA President. I’m not going to be walking to Senate meetings trying to trump the Senate or trying to make the Senate feel as though I am more powerful than that, which isn’t the case. That is something to be seen in the past and a lot of our campaign was focusing on unison between the HUSA president and the Senate. I think what has prepared me for the position is my knowledge on how all of the branches should work together.

The Hilltop: What are your career aspirations and how does being a part of student government aid you in your goals?

Allen: My current aspirations are to be an attorney and I haven’t decided specifically what type of law I want to study. Student government played a role specifically because it taught me how to be strategic, organized and communication skills. It taught me how to negotiate. It also taught me how to approach people when you have a goal you want to get out of them. A lot of the time even when we talk about our relationship with administration, we don’t always approach how we should approach it if we want to be successful at the end of the day. Most importantly, it’s all about the approach. 

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The Hilltop: What advice would you give to people who would like to be a part of student government?

Allen: The biggest piece of advice that I would give to people wanting to be in student government is to just join. A lot of people are intimidated; They don’t want to run and another thing is they don’t want to lose.  There’s always a place to start, there are always intern positions, staff positions, director positions at all branches of a student government. Don’t be intimidated. You can come in and make a very large difference by being a staffer so don’t always think that in order to be in student government you have to have an elected position.

The Hilltop: For those looking to find community, what do you suggest they join or become a part of at Howard University?

Allen: So, I always recommend students to start with their state club. It’s an easy way to feel at home and it’s an easy way to find people that you already know you will have common interests with. After that, I always suggest thinking about what you were involved in during high school and what you enjoyed and what you did not enjoy. There’s so many clubs  at Howard, there are over 300 organizations. You ask yourself ‘what I am passionate about’. That’s the thing, a lot of students come to Howard and they come to college and they don’t really know what they’re passionate about. I alway tell them just join everything right now and then after a while you can figure out I do like this and I don’t like this at all. By sophomore year you will  have the clubs you are seriously devoted to. 

Copy edited by Ashleigh Fields

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