Q&A with Jordan Watkins, homecoming queen candidate


CW/ Jordan Watkins

Jeffrey Kelly, Contributing Writer

Q: What is your year, major and hometown?

A: I am a senior here at the University. I’m from Hoover, Alabama and I’m majoring in accounting.

Q: What inspired you to run for homecoming queen?

A: So what inspired me to run besides just with my platform, I really want to bring awareness about mentorship and how that can really help prevent our at-risk youth. One of my first jobs was working as a camp counselor. So within working as a camp counselor in one of our communities that doesn’t have as much support as some of our other communities, a lot of the employees and camp counselors, we had to be educated on the atmosphere that these kids are coming from when they come to camp in the morning. A lot of times, you never know, like, if this child had just been abused, maybe this child had never been hugged before in their life. We really wanted that summer to be a fun time for them, so we really wanted to express that to them, regardless of what they just came from at home.

Even at my summer camp, there was a little girl who misbehaved a lot of the time, and people were like, “Why is she always misbehaving?” like she’s just a bad seed. So it was one day where – she was a singer as well as I am – and it was one day somebody told her she couldn’t sing, and so she was really sad about it and really upset, so I took her out into the hallway and I was like, you know, “What’s going on? Why are you down on yourself?” and she was, like, explaining to me how they told her she couldn’t sing and everything. So, I told her, “You can do anything that you want to do.

If singing is something that you love to do, definitely go after that.” So, I asked her to sing a little solo for me, and she did it, and she loved it. And then after that, I continued to ask her, I was like, “So, why do you think your behavior has been the way that it has been this summer?” and she kind of sat down and explained to me that she really honestly didn’t know why. If it wasn’t for me sitting down and actually talking to her, she would have never known that she was actually behaving that way. So that was really eye-opening to me to think that sometimes people may act a certain way and they don’t realize that they are acting that way until they have somebody that they can express their feelings with to actually understand that, “I can do better than this. I can be better than this.” So that’s really what inspired me to step in this role.

I’m also a transfer student here at the University, and with just everything of coming in as a transfer student getting adjusted and everything, it’s a lot: trying to make friends, figure out where all these buildings are, be involved in organizations as well as be academically successful. So, within that, I started working in the First Year Experience office trying to brainstorm ways in how this school can be a more transfer-friendly school and appeal to people like myself. So even with that, that is a type of mentorship where I have talked to so many transfer students where they are, like, they didn’t even know the Ferguson Center had three floors. When they got here, they didn’t even know who their advisor was.

When they got here, they didn’t know where to live. Some people were saying they had to sleep on their friend’s couch, and if it wasn’t for that, they don’t know what they would have done. So, to me, that is a type of mentorship. There’s mentorship in everything we do and everywhere we go, down to the organizations here on campus. Like, if you’re in a sorority or a fraternity, that big brother/big sister in that organization can help guide you on which classes to take, how many credits to have, the route to go to class so you’re not running back and forth everywhere. So, we can really be an advocate for one another if we realize the power we hold within ourselves, and so I really want to bring that to light and encourage everyone, because I know sometimes we can get really down on ourselves, and it’s really great to uplift one another in our hard times.

Q: What is your platform, and why are you passionate about it?

A: So, like I explained earlier, my main platform is mentorship and how mentorship can help to prevent our at-risk youth. So, with that, I have come to represent the Upward Bound program, and so within the Upward Bound program, what they do is they provide activities in the community by partnering with schools to allow students to invest in their academic success rather than investing in activities that may later down the road allow them to pertain in activities which allow them to be incarcerated.

We really want to break down that cycle of our poorer students going into the juvenile system, maybe our students that are homeless going into the juvenile system, and you see that cycle continue, and the reason why that cycle is continuing is because a lot of times these students do not have anybody to talk to.

Even when it comes down to their health and things such as alcohol and drunk driving and pregnancy at a young age and different sexual diseases, it’s not because these students wake up in the morning and they’re like, “I just want to do this because of the fun of it.” It’s because they do it and they don’t have somebody who can talk to them and tell them, “Hey you shouldn’t be doing this because the consequences of this are XYZ. Hey, you have another route and those benefits are XYZ.” A lot of times we see a cycle of this certain group of people are succeeding, whereas this certain group of people are not succeeding, and I really want to open up the circle to where everybody can succeed and everybody has a voice at the table to allow their academic success to be seen and heard.

Q: Why do you think students should care about the homecoming court?

A: I believe that students should care about homecoming queen because it is allowing them to have a type of inspiration with all of our candidates who have been running for homecoming queen – they’re all standing for a certain cause. I believe that it is important to be careful with what you listen to, what you speak your life into, what you pertain your time to, and with homecoming queen you can listen and allow your time to be invested in someone that stands for something, even if you feel as though you don’t have a voice to speak on. That is your time to then express those concerns to that candidate and maybe just be a voice for an individual who feels as if they don’t have a voice. That’s personally what I would like to do within this candidacy.

I would love to be a voice for so many students, even with my platform as supporting the Upward Bound program throughout campaign week. I spoke to a lot of students about Upward Bound who were saying “I was in the Upward Bound program before I came here before I graduated, and if it wasn’t for the Upward Bound program I definitely would not be here at The University of Alabama.” With that being said, a lot of times there are so many students here on campus, and we see each other walk by on a daily basis and we really don’t know what’s going on in that person’s individual life and the struggles they might have gone through to get here. So, like I said, we really want to be supportive to everybody and one another because [the student in the program] was saying that if she didn’t have anybody to spill into her life, she didn’t know where she would be, and I definitely want to bring all of our students up.

I have a brother who’s in high school who’s trying to figure out what he wants to do, and he’s been seeing me go about everything I’ve been doing, and you know he texted me the other day and he was like, “You know what? I think I want to change from engineering, and I want to do finance.” He was like, “Could you help me?” So even little things like that – having siblings and just grandparents, maybe someone you watch on social media – anything like that is so inspirational, and I feel like being homecoming queen allows me that opportunity to continue that and reach out and branch out to every student regardless of their socioeconomic background or anything concerning the way they might have been brought up.

Q: Why should students vote for you?  

A: I believe students should vote for me because I am a direct representation of our students. With us being here as students, we are very empowering to one another just with all of our individual stories of how we got here, like my story and how I was a transfer student as well as how you were a transfer student. Even with that, our stories are very, very different. Within getting the Transfer Student Association started, I’ve talked to a lot of students where they say they’ve came and they transferred in and they had friends that left them, and just hearing those stories can allow me as well as other students to be like, “Wow, if I had that experience, I know what to do. Maybe I can help this person.”

I know when I first came here to the University and I was allowed to engage in different activities and different things, I was kind of given the opportunity to sit back and listen to other people as far as maybe what dining halls to go to, what libraries are the best libraries to study at, what’s the best route to class, how the buses work and different things like that.

I believe that students should vote for me, because with mentorship, we are all mentoring each other on a daily basis and we don’t even realize it. Even by buying somebody a cup of coffee or giving somebody a hug or texting them a good morning text in the morning, that is some type of inspiration that you’re giving to that person. Because you never know the night before, they could have been crying into their pillow, they could have been giving up on their last breath, they could have just failed a test and are getting ready to drop out of school. So we are all inspiring and mentoring each other while we are looking at each other, and we don’t really realize it.

I really want to bring that light to people and allow them to know you are an inspiration whether you know it or not, so let’s really embrace it, and let’s stand together in joining in this cause to make a difference in not only you and I, but for our community and for our future generation of children. Because our generation coming up, they are the future, and we want to make sure they are led in the right direction as well as us being led in the right direction, which is right now our graduation. We all want to get there. Even with our study groups, we are mentoring each other in that as well, so that’s why I believe students should vote for me: because I’m bringing a light to a situation that we always do on a common basis, and we just need to embrace it and build on that even more.