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Think Global; Act Local: Answering The Call To Serve


As the Tri-College Community is getting ready to send its seniors into this highly anticipated “real world”, I wanted to chat with someone who was going to graduate this May and whose passage in college has made an everlasting change. It was easy to think of someone making a difference on and off-campus:

Ms. Kayla Jones. Those of us who are lucky to have collaborated on projects on and off campus can all attest to her servant leadership character. Ms. Kayla Jones 22′ is originally from St. Louis, Missouri and moved to Fargo to pursue a degree in psychology at NDSU. She minored in women and gender studies and creative writing and believes each branch of her education will lead her to be successful in her passions, which include advocating for children in schooling, DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) work, writing and activism.

Anyone fortunate to cross her inspiring path will leave with your mind racing in many directions because of the myriad of opportunities she exposes you while also leaving you more hopeful that when people rally around a cause which is greater than self: anything is possible.

We wish her all the best after graduation and we are anxious to witness the good she does in whichever community will be fortunate to have her as a resident!

Next time when you see her, ask: what project are you working on? How can I participate?

Until then:

Keep Smiling at Life!

Where do you call home?

I am originally from St. Louis, MO and I moved to Kansas City, MO when I was young. A lot of people wonder how I ended up somewhere like North Dakota, but I have two brothers here and I wanted to move somewhere where I could have support and get a good education! I also really wanted to try something new, and I knew North Dakota would be exactly that.

What do you do as a student leader on the NDSU campus?

I like to stay busy as a student! I am the president of the Black Student Association, I am also a member of Blue Key Honors Society, Sigma Tau Delta (English honors society), College Democrats and I am a team member for the NDSU PINK brand campus team. Throughout my time at NDSU I started to dive deeper into activism through advocating for students of color on campus, being part of DEI committees and serving as an undergraduate on the NDSU presidential search committee.

What are some of the projects you are working on, give us a glimpse into your world?

Currently, I am working with middle schoolers of color in the area! My purpose is a few things for the students: I am a mentor, someone they can talk to, someone to carry their worries to those in higher administration. I want to work on DEI trainings for these populations and it starts in the schools. My hope is that throughout my education I can achieve a Master’s degree in educational leadership and continue to help students but as a career. Along with this, I am working to put together a guide for hair care donations for women of color in shelters and I hope to turn that into an event to help these women take care of there hair as the products in the FM are expensive and not very accessible.

How important is it for NDSU’s students to care about the Fargo community?

It is vital. The Fargo community is a developing one and it is exciting! We need to be active in our community and continuously engage in it to see the city come to its fruition. I think as students it is easy to get caught up in studies and not focus on anything outside of that but the community where you get your education is more than just a place to get a degree. I know for me, being involved in this community has made it feel more like home and that has made my time here enjoyable.

What are misconceptions about the NDSU students from the Fargo Community?

That our experiences are a monolith. A lot of students have diverse and intricate backgrounds that mold them into who they are not. I think that translates into who they are as students and if there was more understanding around this, I think students could be more successful in higher education, especially because the programs at NDSU have great protentional to set students up to thrive in areas within and outside of North Dakota.

Can you share some of the work you do in the community? How can others get involved?

Most of my work stems from NDSU and working with middle schoolers. I work to promote DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) trainings in educational spaces, and I advocate for changes to protect and take care of marginalized communities in those spaces. Basically, activism is my thing! Others can get involved by joining me in these areas which can be BSA meetings, panels, volunteering etc. by contacting me via email. The more the merrier!

What is your vision for 2030 for the Tri-College community?

I would start by saying increased diversity. Not just by race but of all different backgrounds. I think the tricollege community is in a good spot to grow, it is a developing area with lots of traction and protentional! Community outreach is impeccable here and I think if we expand, we’ll draw in people from rural areas, people from each coast and people from any community you can think of. In 2030, I imagine more than a diverse tri-college community but a community that nurtures that diversity as well.

Written by Alexandre Cyusa

Alexandre Cyusa came to the FM area in the fall of 2010 to attend Concordia College. Originally from Kigali, Rwanda, Cyusa has lived in Switzerland, Ethiopia, Guinea and France. His traveling experiences have helped him in making this world a smaller and simpler place to live in. He currently works for Folkways and is interested in community development and nurturing global citizenship.

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