Easy does it: Omolora Wilson declared 11th female president of UWI guild
Omolora Wilson, who was declared as the new guild president at the University of the West Indies Mona campus on Sunday night, aspires to be a versatile student leader by interacting with students from various halls, faculties, and countries, all of whom have different issues that require their own distinct approach in dealing with them.
“I want to be the leader that can reflect the views of everyone,” said Wilson.
Despite the fact that this was not part of Wilson’s original plan when she enrolled at the university, she realised that she needed to make not only her voice and the voices of those inside her faculty heard, but she also needed to be the voice of all pelicans when in dialogue with administration.
Wilson was the deputy hall chairman for the Mary Seacole Hall, and is currently the guild representative for the Faculty of Social Sciences, serving the largest population of student on the campus.
She credits these leadership duties for preparing her for the post of guild president.
“I wanted to use it for all pelicans,” she said of her voice, highlighting her enthusiasm for activism.
Wilson, who takes over as the guild’s 11th female president on the occasion of its 70th anniversary, said she felt peaceful after learning of her victory.
Elected as the next student representative for the years 2022-2023, she won the support of 2,255 students from the Western and Mona campuses out of a total of 3,916 students who cast ballots for a new president.
“The first thing that actually came to mind is ‘easy does it’, and easy does it is a phrase regarding moving slowly and carefully. I was very careful of the execution of my campaign. No rush, no big dealings, strictly substance over the hype,” she told The Gleaner.
The 22-year-old reminisced on her campaigning days, describing them as impressive as more people would be seen ‘Walking the Wilson Way.’
She recalled numerous persons reaching out to her begging to join her team as they knew her passion and capabilities.
As such, Wilson hopes to gain successful advocacy and opportunities in revolutionising the voice of students, bringing to light major issues within the population that is in need of desperate attention.
One such issue she wishes to raise is the security of the students while on campus, a problem which has been whispering around campus but never seemingly fully addressed or highlighted.
“I want the safety of our students to be prioritised because at this point, we’re given the bare minimum, which brings forth nothing good. I’ve observed on my own how the lack of accountability for security has resulted in many grave consequences. Before I end my tenure, I want to improve the security accountability,” she said.
Another concern Wilson wants to bring up with administrators is expanding students’ access to greater financial aid, and is hoping to raise $3 million for a presidential grant that will help students in need.
Wilson said she has already began contacting organisations on behalf of the pupils.
The final-year marketing student minoring in tourism management and cultural studies, who will be taking leadership during a time when COVID-19 cases have seen a decline, is in preparation mode for face-to-face instruction to commence in the new school semester.
REVIEW FOR SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS
In addition, she stated that a policy review dealing with special needs and disabled students will be conducted in order to align with the new Disability Act.
“We have to ensure the campus is catering to these students as well,” she said.
Outgoing president, Danielle Mullings, in a reflection of what she described as a challenging year, especially so, given that she along with her fellow guild council had to operate during a time of uncertainty brought on by the pandemic.
Mullings noted that looking after 16,000 students was difficult, therefore, she had to reinforce the essential values of humanity and kindness.
Despite the difficulties faced, Mullings said she enjoyed the experience, and as she prepares to step down as guild president, she told The Gleaner that one of the top three lessons she learned on her journey was to be grounded in her sense of self, as many voices will try to detract or divert from where the guild sees best to lead the student body on a successful path.
Mullings also revealed that another lesson learnt is to surround one’s self with good, genuine people that would make for wise counsel in tough times. This, she said, came in handy so as to get other perspectives in the mix before settling on a decision to implement.
Wilson’s qualities were praised by Mullings, who regarded her as a strong woman who is more than capable of being one of the school’s greatest leaders.
As such, she encouraged Wilson to “don’t forget who she is at every step of the journey”, adding that “its easy to forget [sense of self] and get lost in [leadership]”.