Name: Brittney Nicole Blakely
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
Minor: Justice and Peace Studies
GUSA- Secretary of Social Justice; RAK (Random Acts of Kindness) Leader for GIVES (Georgetown Individuals Vocal and Energetic for Service); REL (Resonant Essence Live), Hoya Saxa Weekend Planning Committee; Best Buddies, HOPE (Hoya Outreach Programs in Education).
Which group would you say you are the most involved in? Which means the most to you?
It would have to be a toss up between Hoya Saxa Weekend, GIVES and REL. I have passion for music and the fact that is serves as a creative form of release. There are some incredible voices on campus and REL gives me the opportunity to sing with them, sing the type of music I enjoy and grew up with, and to share it with the Georgetown community. On the other hand, GIVES is still fresh! This is the first year it’s been officially up and running. GIVES’s purpose is to take care of our community here, especially since Georgetown can be very stressful. GIVES means a lot to me because I get to interact with a variety of individuals on the basis of spreading happiness and making people smile. Seriously, it’s the best feeling ever.
Tell us more about Hoya Saxa Weekend!
I have served as Co-Chair over the planning committee for two years and love it so much because it allows students to explore campus who may not have had the chance to visit by themselves. It’s also a chance for them to see that the on-campus community of people of color is thriving and strong in its culture, presence, and support. It’s wonderful to meet so many excited and energetic people, and to begin building solid relationships with underclassmen.
What do you have to say to the critics of programs like Hoya Saxa Weekend and Community Scholars who believe that these initiatives create further divisions in our community?
I think these programs are necessary because they are a way to address the institutionalized ways in which people are kept from opportunity. It’s necessary for us to have the support system created by programs like these, especially since students of color are up against more than your average student.
Tell us about your position as Secretary of Social Justice in GUSA. What challenges and triumphs have you faced?
My main responsibility is to promote and connect the initiatives, events and organizations and students who work towards alleviating issues of social injustice here on campus, in DC, and the nation. We should always be aware of the social injustices going around us and know the power that we have as students and leaders to change that. When it comes to anything social justice-related, the challenges are always funding, awareness and simple limits such as capacity and practicality within institutional rules. As Secretary of Social Justice, one of my main goals is to eliminate the problem of students being intimidated by the issues and to create awareness of relevant event and programs. I, along with my under-secretary Rebecca Tamiru and the executive cabinet are working hard to ensure some amazing successes for our community!
How effective do you think Georgetown students are in living up to the Jesuit ideal of men and women for others?
I think there’s a very thriving community of students who are involved and engaged in men and women for others, but I always feel that we could do more. This ideal should be something that we practice everyday and it forms a part of building a better community.
What legacy do you hope to leave on the Hilltop?
(laughs) That’s a tough question! The thought of legacy is something weird for me to think about because it’s something that others formulate. I never really think about my accomplishments or what others think about them, I’m just focused on how I’m treating those that I interact with and making sure that I am happy in what I am doing. But hopefully making people smile, making Georgetown more bearable and happy for those I know despite all the stress we’re under. Just the idea of consistent care and awareness of our community and being there for others while we’re trying to make it here and push through, working on ourselves in hopes to change the world.
Any advice for underclassmen?
Remember not everyone is going to like you, and not everybody needs to. Stay true to who you are. Some people will be accepting of it and some people won’t. Love those who do, and for those who don’t, pray for ’em and keep it moving!
Zoe Gadegbeku, Editor-in-Chief
Photo credit: Zoe Epstein, Graphics and Photography Staff