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The West Virginia University (WVU) Student Government Association has elected its first Black woman, Amaya Jernigan, as Student Government Association President.
Jernigan is a pre-med junior. She previously served as president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Eta Omicron Chapter.
The SGA consists of an elected president, vice president, 29 college senators and 12 senators at-large.
“I was very, very excited just to be carrying on their legacy, just to represent them because I know how much it meant to the students who look like me, to the staff and the faculty and the Black alumni that look at me,” Jernigan said. “It’s just — I don’t know — I just feel very excited to get to work. I’m just happy that I can continue the work of many others.”
Jernigan says the Summer of 2020 launched the university into action.
“The first thing I plan on doing when I get in there is changing the culture of SGA,” Jernigan said. “I’ve been a part of SGA for about two years now, two years, and some change, and I still feel like I’m on the outside. Although I go to all the meetings, I talk to everyone there; it doesn’t feel like I belong there.”
She is already focused on restructuring.
“There are so many real problems on this campus,” Jernigan said. “For example, diversity training needs to happen, stat, within all of our faculty, within all of our staff, within all of our administrators. It just needs to be diverse.”