Jay Hedges ’17, from Little Rock, AR, is majoring in political economy, with an urban studies minor. He serves as the 2016-2017 president of Rhodes Student Government (RSG), which represents the students and their interests to the administration and works to foster a well-rounded community that encourages growth. Hedges also interns for the Clayborn Temple Restoration Project, which strives to rehabilitate what was a safe haven during the Civil Rights Movement. The Temple was also a headquarters for the Sanitation Workers’ Strike, which featured the iconic “I AM A MAN” signs.
How did you choose Rhodes?
I looked at a handful of other small liberal arts schools, but I was drawn to Rhodes because of Memphis. I love the city and urban environment, and I was attracted to Rhodes’ students involvement in the community.
Why did you decide to run for / be a part of Rhodes Student Government (RSG)? What about RSG was important to you?
I always enjoyed positions of service-leadership. I was involved with Student Council in high school, so I decided to run for senator freshman year. I felt the privilege and responsibility of having an inside look at the inner-workings of the institution, and I saw RSG as an avenue for real positive change.
What are your goals in RSG?
My goals have been to increase the sense of belonging at Rhodes for all students, while paying particular attention to our historically marginalized students. Data in the Campus Climate Survey indicated to me my sophomore year that the school could do a much better job of serving our students of color, independent students, and LGBTQ students.
What’s surprised you most during your time at Rhodes?
I have been most surprised by the quality of leadership of our Board of Trustees. I have gotten to know the trustees much better this year, serving on the Presidential Search Committee and as a student trustee. They truly care about students and are committed to making Rhodes an inclusive environment that produces excellent global citizens.
How do you see your involvement in RSG impacting your future outside of Rhodes?
RSG has prepared me, in a tremendous way, for my future. I will be a lifelong advocate, and RSG has helped me understand the skills necessary to be an effective advocate, and it has helped me develop those skills by interacting with others who have been wonderful examples to follow.
Compiled by Swaneet Mand ’18