Newly Elected President of Student Government Association Has Her Finger on the Pulse

Published: August 09, 2023

Newly Elected President of Student Government Association Has Her Finger on the Pulse

Davia Willis knows how it is.

The long commute, emigrating from another country, navigating the college admissions process, applying for financial aid and feeling alone in a new place with no friends. And what she doesn’t have firsthand experience with, she empathizes with, such as students who must juggle their studies while working long hours and caring for their family. Also, Willis, like many of her fellow classmates, is the first in her family to attend college.

“I knew no one my first semester,” said 21-year-old Willis, an international student born and raised in Jamaica, the Caribbean Island. “I just came to school, went to class and turned around to go home. My life was very lonely.”

Going home means two hours on buses and subways to Flatbush, where Willis lives with her mom, whom she had been visiting on and off for the last several years before she moved to the U.S. to apply to college.

Willis enrolled at Queensborough in August 2022 and is majoring in the Dual-Joint A.S./B.A. in the Criminal Justice Degree Program at John Jay.

She explained that in Jamaica her highest level of degree was a high school diploma. When she applied to John Jay, she only had a GED versus applicants who had associate degrees which gave them an edge over her application.

“Honestly, I did not realize other CUNY community colleges offered the same Dual/Joint program with John Jay, but even with the commute I don’t regret my decision to enroll at Queensborough. I probably would not have had the same amazing opportunities as I do here.”

As the newly elected SGA President of the Student Government Association (SGA) fall 2023-spring 24 academic year her priority, “is to help people come together and share their stories, to find creative ways for all students to experience Queensborough’s culture of care. Without it, success is difficult to achieve.”

Part of Willis’s own story is in Jamaica where her dad still lives. “I’ve experienced a lot of success at QCC and one of the people who made it possible is my dad. He may be far away, but I always feel his love. We used to enjoy watching crime shows together and had fun debating cases--he said I had a talent for reasoning. I miss lots of things about the island—the food, the beaches and my friends—but most of all my dad.”

Now her mind is laser-focused on the present. “In my campaign statement, I said I wanted to create change--that I was already looking into the issues we faced, like expanding cafeteria meal options, improving methods to raise awareness of campus resources and encouraging more feedback on campus events.”

Willis pointed out that several of Queensborough’s resources are lifelines for many students such as the Lucille A. Bova Food Pantry, Accelerated Studies in Associate Programs, Mental Health Counseling and the College’s “wonderful” student advisors.

“I’m really looking forward to Welcome Week later this month which will include a variety of inclusive, fun activities and information about campus resources. It’s a creative way to encourage students to make new friends and start the year on a positive note!”

Willis recalled her time in SGA as secretary in Spring 2023.  Though she now had some experience in student government she still felt like running for SGA president might be too much too soon. “Then I reminded myself of who I was in Jamaica and how my parents raised me to never shy away from an opportunity. Turns out I was ready after all!”

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Contact:  Alice Doyle

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