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VPSA Blog: September 7, 2018

Illustration of VP Holmes sitting on his desk with "Tea with VP" in the background.


You're All Leaders

September 7, 2018

Marcus Garvey once said, “Education is the medium by which a people are prepared for the creation of their own particular civilization, and the advancement and glory of their own race.”  The contributions you make at Howard University, and in the world, continue to underscore the preeminence of our institution. The most exciting part of fulfilling your potential to leave an impact on the world is the fact that you can all start right away. Yes, I do mean all of you.

With the student leader commissioning ceremony taking place this Sunday, September 9, 2018, I want to make my first blog about the importance of student leadership on campus. A select few have accepted the mantle of leadership in student government or other organizations, but all of Howard University’s students are leaders. You don’t need to be elected or appointed to office to embody HU’s values, pursue your dreams, and realize your potential to contribute to the rich legacy that is Howard University.

Howard University students continue to be strong and significant leaders within the global community. In these formative years at Howard, you will discover new skills and ideas and turn your learning—both inside and outside of the classroom—into unforgettable lessons. Use your experiences mindfully; allow your challenges and triumphs to help shape you and develop your informed voice both as an individual and as a leader.

Use your informed voice to stand up with courage, as you are our hope.

Given the current climate in our country, where lies, racism, xenophobia, anti-LGBTQ+ practices, ableism, misinformation and fake news abound, we need you to stand up and be counted. We need you to use your informed voice to stand up with courage, as you are our hope. Moreover, it is now your responsibility to recognize the privilege that is higher education and begin to engage with faculty, peers, and your institution as a contributing participant in your education. Our time to lead as elders will soon come to an end and you, our next generation of leaders, are the future.

If you ever doubt your power, remember those who came before you. Know this: as a Bison, you stand on the shoulders of Bison before you who have been powerful leaders in all sectors of society. Some of those Bison walked this campus 150 years ago, while some were here just a few months ago. Students like you encouraged and demanded that staff and faculty increase our collective engagement in student and community life. Students spurred campus-wide engagement in projects on community food security, campus safety, and more. Howard students’ activism, mobilization, and organization to address these issues has already begun to serve as a blueprint for other students around the world, and will surely continue to do so.


Student leaders stand with #HUStands shirts.
Student leaders take a stand against sexual assault and interpersonal violence.


Last week, President Frederick launched our #HUStands Campaign for sexual assault and interpersonal violence. I would like to offer another principle that the campaign embodies: that WE STAND FOR EACH OTHER. We can’t dismantle systems of injustice if we’re tearing down each other. We can’t let anger, lies, deceit, or fake news divide us. Let’s lift each other up, guide each other with love, and fortify each other. We are one Howard! And I pledge to play my role in helping us achieve solidarity.

For over 150 years, Howard University has created a culture of participation and engagement on campus and within the community. You are here to ask questions and discover answers, to “prepare for the creation” of the world in which you want to live. With that, I pose this question to you: What will be your contribution?


What makes you a leader? Let us know!



Our Mission

The Division Student Affairs supports the mission of the University by providing student-centered, high quality programs that promote an appreciation of diversity and foster a strong university community.


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Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs
2400 Sixth Street, Suite 201
Washington, DC 20059

Telephone: 202-806-2100 
Fax: 202-806-9302