Western Courier

Student Spotlight

Mercedes Joyner Communication Major Senior

Robby Barlow

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Mercedes Joyner is a senior communication major from Rockford, Illinois, and is the president of Western Illinois University’s college chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Joyner is also a member of the mentoring organization Sacred Circle, a desk assistant at Thompson Hall and one of five Senators at-Large in Western’s Student Government Association (SGA) as well. A Senator at-Large is a senator who represents all of the students on campus and not just those in an organization. The term is yearlong and Senators at-Large are elected by the student body in the spring elections preceding the term.

Joyner said that being a Senator in SGA gives her the opportunity to help better students’ lives on campus.

“(Being a Senator allows me to) get to know the student body that we represent as well (as) help with any problems or difficult situations that they may need help with,” Joyner said. “As a Senator at-Large, I simply would like to accomplish being effective and not just filling a seat. I hold many leadership roles and would like to use them all to connect with the student body at its best.”

Joyner also strives to be effective in her presidency of the NAACP on campus.

“The goal for when an individual comes to our meeting is for there to be an exchange of knowledge,” Joyner said. “We as an executive board work to provide new, effective and useful information to our student body.”

In her term as president, Joyner “wishes to accomplish diversity, insight and effectiveness.”

“What is action if it is not to help better oneself?” Joyner asked. “We are students, adults, community members, but most of all we are human. We can all connect on some level and must do so. (The NAACP) is open to everyone, we target to educate the population and we’re open to collaborating with other organizations and do so quite frequently. Involvement not only is lending a helping hand but it helps provide perspective while meeting wonderful new individuals.”

The thing that drives Joyner to be so involved on campus is that she understands the “power in change.”

“Being able to make a change or a difference isn’t easy, but if you can be effective to other students and administration you could potentially help or save someone’s life,” Joyner said. “I highly believe in the impact that we (have not) as people but that we influence upon our peers.”

When she is not being a student leader, Joyner is often in the Gwendolyn Brooks Cultural Center and describes herself in her free time as, “Helping plan events, going to events, studying or planning my next step. Progression is key and you have to have direction on a path even if it changes.”

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