This year VSU has gained not just a new set of eager freshman for the 2018 fall semester, but also a new staff member to guide and provide them with ample opportunities to feel included.
Sandra Jones became VSU’s director of Student Diversity and Inclusion on June 22. As the former employee relations coordinator, Jones knows she must welcome all with a warm smile and kind greeting, and make sure to take the extra mile to make students feel comfortable.
Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Vincent Miller said there couldn’t have been a better choice to fill the position.
“Ms. Jones became the popular choice by students, staff, and faculty that attended the campus presentations and interview sessions,” Dr. Miller said. “All the people on the committee had a unanimous recommendation: Sandra Jones.”
While the vice president had no part in the director’s search committee, he was the one to present her new position.
VSU was introduced to the possibility of a new director at the end of last semester. Jones described her induction as a grueling process of skype calls and day-long campus interviews
However, her story did not start here. Jones is actually a VSU alumna.
Originally from Manchester, N. Y., she went to VSU through the military and spent time in 2014 dual majoring to receive a Bachelor’s in sociology and anthropology, and philosophy and religious studies, along with a Master’s in social work.
Jones, however, started her VSU career off in Career Opportunities where she met numerous student and strengthened the bond she had between different groups on campus.
Now, jumping from student to director, she describes her experience as slightly jarring, but rewarding.
Former interim Director of Student Diversity and Inclusion Dr. Gerald Williams said no matter what, Jones can handle anything that comes her way.
“She has always been a hard worker and focused,” Dr. Williams said. “When she set a goal, she was determined to meet that goal regardless of whatever barriers might have existed.”
Jones is excited for what’s to come this semester, as well as those in the future.
“She is one of, if not the most transparent and authentic person you will ever work with,” Dr. Williams said. “[That’s] something that is really required to get other people to open up.”
Currently, she has projects in the works with a mission to get all on-campus students involved, included, and more notably, to make sure they know they aren’t alone – especially freshmen.
“This can be difficult, especially as a freshman,” Jones said. “You are transitioning, you are finding out who you are. This office can be a safe place—not just a safe place, a brave place.”
Going from following agendas to making them, sitting on a different side of the desk and not getting to leave at 5:30 p.m., she believes it is still important to hear the students she so strongly and passionately wants to represent.
“She is passionate about this work,” Dr. Miller said. “She is also a very open and an approachable person, so take advantage of that.”
Written by Payton Fletcher, Staff Writer.
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