Meet Spelman’s 82nd SGA President Elect: Breah Banks
Photo by: Sydney Price;
Written by: Auzzy Byrdsell, MT Secretary
Each year, The Student Government Association (SGA) elections are an integral and anticipated time in AUC culture. Students of all classifications race to represent, lead and influence their student bodies. The sought-after SGA president position is crucial to the communication and perception of the students and their relations with administration.
On Feb. 28, Spelman revealed that students elected Breah Banks as their next SGA president. Banks is a junior majoring in Psychology and minoring in Business Management and Organization from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Banks accomplished her quest of leading Spelman’ SGA which has been a goal of hers since her days as the Freshman Class Council President.
Since her first semester at Spelman, she has been Freshman Class Council President, Sophomore Class Council President, SGA Secretary of Student Affairs and now the 82nd SGA President Elect.
The responsibilities, visibility and duties that come with being SGA president are tremendous. Banks sat down with me to talk about her vision for Spelman, her plans as president and more.
Byrdsell: For the readers who may not know much about you, what are some fun facts about you that are unique to know?
Banks: I have two brothers! One is older, one is younger. I like to think of myself as having both a mentor and a mentee.
I also love to bake. Unfortunately, I don’t bake as often since we don’t have full kitchens on campus.
I would also say I love trying out new restaurants. I really love to eat and explore new places.
Byrdsell: SGA President is such a sought after position but it’s also so important and comes with a lot of demands. Why did you run and why do you think you were the right choice for SGA President?
Banks: That’s a good question and I also think it’s an important question. I would say me for my continued passion and living for this institution. I served in quite a few different capacities in the past few years that have continued to show me why I want to serve in a larger capacity, why I wanted to be SGA President and why I’m experienced to be SGA President.
I served as Freshman Class Council President and Sophomore Class Council President. In my current role as SGA Secretary of Student Affairs, I’ve served in a larger capacity. Each of those roles have taught me different skills that I’ve taken with me that I will be applying in my new role as SGA President.
They’ve also shown me why I love Spelman and why I want to make it that much of a better place. I have the love and support for and from my sisters.
Byrdsell: As part of the junior class, we’ve watched you campaign for each of these positions. Is SGA President something you’ve planned since your freshman year?
Banks: Great question! I’d like to say freshman year but I knew I wanted to be SGA President since my senior year of high school. I attended a predominately white institution and didn’t have enough support and I lost that election.
I think I made it my mission after seeing the capacities that Spelman SGA have been able to serve in. I knew that was something I wanted to do and something I’m capable of doing.
Byrdsell: With that context, how did it feel when you finally won?
Banks: It felt amazing. I think it’s still sinking in. I cried happy tears, because I had planned for it for such a long time.
I called my parents, my (sorority) sisters and my supporters. I think the final thing was realizing that my Spelman sisters are the ones that got me here and that goes for all of my positions.
Byrdsell: Any college is flawed, every school has work to be done. What is your vision for Spelman? What do you want to see when your presidency is over?
Banks: I based the goals of my presidency on my student experience. Being in the Student Government Association you are a student elected representative. You are meant to represent the students.
One of my goals is to increase transparency between the student body and our faculty and administration. I feel like the students deserve a certain level of communication and transparency. I don’t feel like we always get that going down to the basic level of getting grades on time.
I think there needs to be a prioritization of our mental health which comes with adding more student resources that students can go to.
I am looking forward to student town halls. We want to open up spaces for students to feel comfortable and your voice is heard. We have to make sure they know that they have representatives that they can go to.
I have so much planned for the 82nd administration. At the end of the day, I want to ensure that we always and will be for the students and that we have an impact.
Byrdsell: During your campaign I remember you really emphasized embracing the diversity of Spelman.
Banks: I think it’s something that you either know or learn. I’ve always appreciated all the different passions we as Spelman students can have. Because of our different passions we have different contributions. They’re what makes Spelman ‘Spelman’.
Byrdsell: What do you think are Spelman’s biggest challenges? What should be prioritized at Spelman?
Banks: I don’t want to be redundant but I do think it’s important to enhance communication and transparency.
Another though, is infrastructure. As a student body representative there’s only so much we can do, but I think that we have to have a focus on our current buildings. If they need any improvements or just renovations, they need our focus.
Spelman students pay lots of money to be here, so we shouldn’t have inadequate living spaces. There is a new system to file a form of work order in your living spaces.
I would also say a focus on our sisterhood too. We’re Spelman students. I think with freshmen we focus so much on them with New Student Orientation, Spelbound and more. I think that foundation is important, but it’s equally important to continue those same kinds of activities to foster that sisterhood culture in each class.
We are welcomed into Spelman beautifully but it’s important to carry it on through the classes.
Byrdsell: During your journey at Spelman you’ve been under a variety of leadership whether it is SGA Presidents or Spelman Presidents. As she passes you the torch, what have you learned from Chandler Nutall’s SGA Presidency.
Banks: That’s a great question! Chandler has been an amazing president!
One of the things or qualities I want to carry on from her is the ability of making everyone feel heard. I feel that she makes herself very accessible to everyone, and that is an important quality because you don’t see it in everyone.
I feel like she will make you feel prioritized and welcomed enough to sit down and have a one on one conversation and to just chat. She’ll normally check in with you. That’s something I want to pass down because I think it’s important to have it as SGA president.
Her work ethic is amazing. I will also say she knows how to balance a lot of commitments. Chandler has been doing an amazing job and been very effective.
Byrdsell: Being SGA President is so complex, but there are more complexities of being the SGA President at a place like Spelman. With that, what kind of future do you see for not only Spelman but the entire AUC?
Banks: That’s a good question, wow. I would say my main focus is to continue to be fostered in unity.
We call ourselves the AUC. Spelman is an all women’s institution and Morehouse College is an all men’s institution. Clark Atlanta, Morris Brown and Morehouse School of Medicine just ties it all together.
I would just say unity. With everything going on, especially since we share the same community, we are all next door.
My goal is to continue staying together. I want to make sure we continue to lean on each other and support one another.
Byrdsell: Is there anything left you want to say to use as punctuation in this conversation? Anything left that you want the students to hear?
Banks: I am just genuinely thankful that I have been elected into this position first and foremost. This has been in the making since freshman year but it took the votes, support and encouragement of my Spelman sisters to get me here.
Without them I wouldn’t be here. I am genuinely thankful and I am excited to serve the student body.
Copy Edited By: Marlon “MJ” Scott