Nyah Jordan (COM’22), BU student body president, left her hometown of Hattiesburg, Mississippi excited to attend BU and ready for new adventures. She’s since studied abroad in London and immersed herself in campus life through leadership roles in student government and beyond. Now a senior studying journalism and political science, Nyah is excited to bring her experiences to the role of student body president, collaborate on meaningful initiatives, and inspire others to dream big.
Lauren Hust: What brought you to Boston and BU?
Nyah Jordan: I absolutely wanted to be in a big city for college. I wanted an opposite experience from what I grew up with. To throw myself out there and experience something new. Once I toured BU, I loved the school but thought, “No way. BU is so prestigious. There’s not a chance I’m getting in.”
I got in through the CGS Boston-London Program, and to study abroad as a freshman was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down. Going from Mississippi to Boston to London to everywhere else the opportunities have taken me means a lot coming from a small town. I’m really blessed to have that opportunity.
It seems like you’re good at immersing yourself in new experiences. You’ve had many leadership roles, and now you’re BU Student Government student body president. What motivated you to pursue that?
I always think of the people that have inspired me on BU’s campus and beyond. I like to find examples for myself. Usually, it’s another Black woman in a leadership position. Sometimes that’s hard to find. So when I see someone in a position I originally thought was unattainable, that inspires me, even if they may not ever meet me. That’s what I want to do for other people, especially other young women of color. I want to inspire at least one other person to think, “I’m coming from here, but my background isn’t going to stop me. It’s not going to limit me.” I want someone to know, “You can absolutely do it. You put in the work. You have a support system. I will support you personally.”
And of course, I always mentioned Hafzat Akanni, the first Black female student body President at BU. That was my first year, so I was able to see her get elected. That made up my mind. I was like, “There is a place for me on this campus, and student government is it.”
Those are incredible reasons to get involved. Now that you’re in this role, what is one priority for BU Student Government?
We want to permanently institute wellness spaces at the university. Not only in physical spaces, but in peer-mentoring programs and with other mental health resources. A group of students just had a meeting on a health vending machine that would have medicine and resources at a lower cost or hopefully free to BU students. Implementing and hopefully making those permanent staples at BU is a priority.
You’re a senior and graduating soon. How do you feel your experience in COM has played into your roles, including CGS senator, VP of internal affairs for BU Student Government, and now student body president?
Working through COM and The Daily Press gave me skills to talk to people. I know that sounds simple, but that’s something I’ve learned in terms of why people think the way they do. People might have the same goal but different paths of getting there. Especially as VP of internal affairs, I had to talk to those people in terms of, “Let’s break down why you’re doing this this way,” find those similarities, and make a plan from there.
Those are even skills I’ve been taught in COM regarding interviewing people and putting together projects, whether for radio or a story. It’s making sure to have my priorities straight. Then, I can disseminate information to the student government by breaking down what’s really important and giving that information in a simple and effective way.
What skills have you gained through student government and how do you plan to apply those to your future career?
When you have a giant project, you need to learn how to delegate, first of all. It’s not about taking it on yourself.
Also, a lot of people think with politicians (in terms of students and politics) we have to be “fake nice.” I think if you’re honest with people, they appreciate and see that. I would love to work, especially, with politics in journalism, and people are more likely to have an honest conversation with you when you present yourself as an honest person. When you bring your genuine personality and show that to people, it’s letting them know, “I see you as a human,” and you’re humanizing yourself. You’re not talking to them for their position or what they can do for you or what you can do for them. You’re having a mutual, relaxed conversation, and that leads to so many other ideas.
I know many people want to get involved in a leadership or supporting role in an organization but might feel they don’t have the experience or know how to get started. What advice would you give those people?
I would first say to look at your passions. If you’re not sure what those are, that’s totally fine because BU Student Government has a million things you can join. Student government doesn’t attract one major or one type of person. If you’re passionate about social justice, for example, you could join our Social Advocacy Group as a staffer or in a director position. And you can do that as a freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior. We’re not looking for someone older, we’re just looking for someone who has some great ideas and passion for what they’re doing.
So, I definitely recommend thinking about what you want to do and what change you want to make. Figure out what you love, and we will absolutely find a place for you.
Lauren Hust, Staff Writer
Lauren Hust is a second-year public relations graduate student. After earning her BA in education from Texas State University and teaching third grade for two years, she moved to North Macedonia to teach English with the Peace Corps. There, she blogged, managed communications for a girls’ leadership camp, contributed to the social media team, and discovered a love for public relations. In her free time, Lauren enjoys all the outdoor activities, traveling, reading, and searching for the best chips and salsa in Boston.