By: Nicordo Wilson| EPCA Advisor
Just recently I read a Letter to Editor entitled: “If you are done, be done” and stood in shock trying to understand the motive behind the article. In seeking to do this I asked myself several questions: What was going through the mind of the writer? Did the pressure finally get to the council?
In retrospect, this title can be described as: shocking, distasteful and disrespectful to the USM alumni. In my estimation, this article has raised several questions regarding the stewardship of the current USM executive. To be frank, the 2020-2021 USM regime has been dealt a hard hand, they have faced constant set-backs which have tested their ability to lead and make critical decisions. Some decisions which they made were not always seen as the best in the eyes of alumni, however, they have tried to navigate life as student leaders and are prepared to pass on the baton to the incoming regime.
For those officers who were sideline commentators prior to serving in the 2020-2021 regime, they learnt that being on the sideline is very different from actually serving in the movement and this is an edge that USM Alumni have over members of the current regime. Anyone who is a USM alumnus is aware of the following realities about wearing the uniform:
- The administration will kill your plans
At the start of the journey, you may have lots of plans and ideas which you want to execute while you serve. However, if the administration does not see the feasibility of the plans they will kill them. I wish that someone had said this to the regime before they got into office. A case in point is the hedge fund which was proposed by President Haye during his campaign speech. A number of students loved the idea, however, it has not materialized and will never, because it was not seen as achievable by the administration.
- Criticism will come
While you serve in any office or institution as a leader you should be prepared to face constant criticism. I guess that the 2020-2021 regime was never told about this. Mind you, criticism is not a growing trend that was only invented during your tenure as student leaders. It has always been around and will be around long after you have served. Now, as student leaders, you must learn how to handle criticism. Maturity as student leaders means that you: evaluate what the critic has said, avoid responding to every critic, seek to learn the intent of the critic, learn from positive and negative criticism, show gratitude to those who offer criticism and most importantly, control your emotions.
- Be yourselves and do not listen to everyone
As student leaders, it is important that you learn who to listen to and who to avoid. There are some individuals who are seeking to outshine the council, they want to prove a point and will try everything to do this. Trying to be like the regime before you is not going to work, you are you!!! Not the previous regime. Do not listen to the comparisons as they may throw you off and cause you to lose your way. You are the first covid-19 USM council. And you may not be the last, how will you help the next regime to face the challenges of serving?
It is important to point out that once you serve as a USM council member, you will always have the USM council at heart. You want to help to build and sustain the legacy. And if you see anyone making a fool of themselves or acting in an unconstitutional manner, you are going to draw them out. USM alumni who act as critics are not seeking to bash the council, make you look bad or anything like that, they are seeking to prevent you from making the mistakes that they did. Knowing the challenges of the job which you have been asked to execute, they offered counsel, advice and criticized you when you made mistakes hoping that you wouldn’t repeat them.
A people without the knowledge of their past will only fail and as current members of the USM council, having a knowledge of the ways in which your predecessors served and built the legacy you inherited can only foster respect for them. Every member of the council should know their history and about those who fought to ensure that there is a USM legacy. To the members of the 2020-2021 regime, respect is due to the following USM alumni/regimes:
- Robert ‘Big Rob’ Miller and the 2004-2005 regime for creating and designing the USM uniforms you now wear.
- Geovani Franklyn and the 2006-2007 regime for creating the USM church impact and Bible bowl.
- Davey Haughton and the 2010-2011 regime for creating the USM Constitution which now guides the operation of the council.
- Darren Murphy and the 2010-2011 regime for lobbying for a sandwich line at the cafe.
- Demar Fearon and the 2011-2012 regime for introducing sports mascots.
- Ryan Redwood and the 2011-2012 regime for adopting the Mannings Boys Home and supporting in whatever way possible.
- Mario Williams and the 2012-2013 regime for fostering partnerships with sister universities: Oakwood & University of the Southern Caribbean.
- Charvone Clarke, Shana Lynch and the 2015-2016 regime for rebranding the hilltop trumpet and introducing new segments to the paper.
- Wayne Woolery, Delmas Brown and the 2016-2017 regime for implementing the shuttle service and the purchase of a bus after several years of trying to implement one. Several students were taken home safely when classes were face to face.
- Hadifa Hibbert and the 2016-2017 regime for the introduction of on-site training & certification of Projects Team members in food handling and preparation.
- Helen Powell and the 2016-2017 regime for revamping the structure and updating the roles of the Public Relations Office.
- Odane Mighty and the 2018-2019 regime for proposing the introduction of the 21 credit system that you now enjoy.
- Kavion Allen and the 2018-2019 regime for the constitutional amendments which currently guide the council.
- Quinell Ming and the 2018-2019 regime for introducing an aggressive style of journalism to the NCU campus. For rebranding the office of publications by introducing the concept of student journalists, press interviews, student journalist pass and hilltoons.
- Leera Carr and the 2019-2020 regime for the USM tutoring program has benefited several students who were struggling with difficult courses.
Without these alumni who you have disrespectfully told to “forget about the council,” you would not have any uniform, sports mascots, sports jerseys, a structure for the USM, a 21 credit system, USM tutorial program, sandwiches at the cafe, palm leaves etc. To the members of the current regime, alumni cannot be done with USM, they want to see you survive and are silently cheering for you. They can hardly wait for you to finish your tenure on a high and join them as fellow alumni. As you prepare to demit office in July, may all who come behind you find you faithful stewards of the USM legacy that has been built over the years. Continue to serve, do not crumble under the weight of leadership as things will only get better.
The views expressed in this article are solely the writer’s and not of the Hilltop Trumpet.