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Nia Naylor’s Journey to HUSA Presidency 

Nia Naylor, outgoing HUSA President, reflects on her journey to a campus leader while planning her next steps in advocacy and politics.

Nia Naylor, the president of Howard University Student Association’s (HUSA) 63rd administration, is nearing the end of her term having accomplished many of her administration’s goals. (Keith Golden Jr./The Hilltop)

When she first walked through Howard’s gates, Nia Naylor’s experience in student government was close to nothing at all. 

It wasn’t until she received pivotal advice from her mentor, that she said the course of her time at Howard would be forever changed. It was through this encounter that she would take the leap of faith and decide to chart new territories. 

These days, Naylor can be found around Howard’s campus going from meeting to meeting or sharing laughs with her cabinet members. 

“She was very intelligent. She was very articulate as well, very good with making good, coherent conversation, very good at defending arguments,” Jay Jones, HUSA vice president said. “But also like, she was just a fun girl. Like we always had fun. It was always a good laugh or a good joke whenever we were talking.” 

Naylor serves as HUSA President for the 63rd Administration. The 22-year-old New Castle, Delaware, native and Jones together ran the campaign titled “The Bison Print,” a platform focused on ensuring students were able to leave an imprint on Howard. 

After initially applying to be a part of the Elections Committee and not making the cut, Naylor said she was strongly encouraged by her mentor to continue to put herself out there.

Eventually, she found herself in the Student Advocacy Department for the 59th Administration as a first-year intern, and after that, Naylor was hooked. From there, Naylor ran for senate and became one of the freshman senators for the College of Arts and Sciences (COAS). 

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“I learned a lot about advocating for a larger group of people, especially because Howard, like COAS itself, is a lot bigger than my high school,” Naylor said. 

While serving as a senator her freshman year for COAS, Naylor was exposed to “a different side of Howard,” she said. From this perspective, she felt she was able to see more aspects of the administration and the changes that needed to be made, ultimately motivating her to run for HUSA President.

“I wasn’t really able to make the impact that I wanted to make as a senator, but I would be able to make it as President,” Naylor said. “So for me, it was just being able to advocate on a wider scale. Because I could only truly advocate for the COAS students.”

Nia Naylor grins while holding a box labeled “The Bison Print,” the campaign she ran alongside HUSA Vice President, Jay Jones. (Keith Golden Jr./The Hilltop)

As HUSA President, Naylor said her main responsibility has been advocating for the student body and ensuring that students’ needs are heard. She spends much of her time researching, delegating, attending meetings with administrators and speaking publicly at Howard-related events.

She said that two of her biggest highlights in the role have been the opening of the Store @ HU, a food pantry for students that provides them with essential items, and assisting in the planning of homecoming events. 

Despite the joys of her role, Naylor also expressed some frustration when it came to navigating controversies occurring on campus and effectively communicating with Howard community members.

Naylor used the removal of the HU Halo G.R.E.E.N. Garden on campus as an example. 

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“Nobody knew that that happened,” she said. “Because it happened before it was supposed to. So having to deal with that and it’s like, ‘Ok, we can’t say anything specifically yet because we’re still waiting for the proper information.’” 

Naylor shared that she often learns of events at the same time as the rest of the Howard community, which can make it sometimes difficult to provide answers right away.

“We’re trying to understand what’s going on before we can speak on it and say stuff,” she said. “So having to wait is definitely one of the biggest things because it’s like, ‘yes, I’m doing my own research and I’m trying to figure that out, but I need them [Howard Administration] to tell me what’s going on first.’”

Jones commended Naylor’s leadership and communication style, specifically in times of crisis management. She referenced Naylor’s tenacity while responding to various safety concerns at the beginning of the school year. 

“Her big thing was ‘We’re going to have accurate information.’And she played a very big role in making sure we have that accurate information,” she said. “So that way when it came down to us forming the crisis response, forming what we need to say, it was a little bit easier because we have the information.”

Then-junior Nia Naylor screamed in front of Frederick Douglass Memorial Hall after hearing her name announced as the next Howard University Student Association president in 2023. (JD Jean-Jacques/The Hilltop)

While at Howard, Naylor has been involved in various organizations on and off campus. She has served as the President of Howard University College Democrats, Vice President of Howard University’s Delaware Club, Social Action Chair of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Alpha Chapter and Secretary of the 1867 Undergraduate Assistantship Program. 

She has interned at the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women, TARGETSMART and U.S. Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester’s office.

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Henry Naylor, Nia’s father, shed light on Naylor’s personality outside of the office, speaking to her kind-hearted nature.

“Very happy, very bubbly, high energy, loves the world, you know, wouldn’t step on an ant or a worm, you know, would rather see them live,” he said.  “If there’s a mouse in the house, she’s like ‘Dad, don’t kill it. Take it outside.’”

As her time at Howard comes to a close, Naylor remains committed to advocating for others. She plans to stay in D.C. and aspires to work on Capitol Hill. She is currently working behind the scenes and assisting in campaign data analytics for Sherry Dorsey Walker’s campaign for Lieutenant Governor and Eugene Young for U.S. Congressman back in Delaware. Naylor admits, however, that she wants to work on a “larger sphere.” 

“My goal is to be the youngest elected official,” she said. “So I want to run for U.S. Congress to be a congressman representing Delaware. I would do that at age 26.”

Although her time as president is almost up, Jones maintains that Nia’s legacy at Howard will continue to be seen on campus. 

“We hope to have that continue reaching back and giving back and that we continue recognizing and acknowledging the work that Nia has done and the time and commitment that she has given to this university during her tenure as the President of the 63rd administration,” she said.

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Copy edited by D’ara Campbell

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