Amaya Jernigan Makes History as West Virginia University's First Black Woman Student Government President
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Amaya Jernigan Makes History as West Virginia University's First Black Woman Student Government President

After more than 150 years since its founding, West Virginia University just elected its first Black woman as student government president, according to My Buckhannon.

Amaya Jernigan, who hails from Waldorf, Maryland, will take over the post for the first time in WVU’s history. She will lead the university’s student body for the 2021-2022 academic year alongside Hunter Moore, who will serve as vice president.

“I would like to thank every Mountaineer who has made it possible for me to hold this position. I am beyond grateful and will be forever thankful that you all were brave enough to pave the way for me,” Jernigan said in a statement. “Hunter and I, as well as everyone else elected today, have been asked to bring change to campus. We won’t let you down. We have to be the change we seek, and the ‘ACTION’ starts today.”

Jernigan is a junior biology major and she served as a senator-at-large for WVU’s Student Government Association (SGA) prior to landing the presidential role. Jernigan is a member of RISE WVU, M-Power and she has previously served as the president of the Eta Omicron chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. During her tenure as senator-at-large, Jernigan was working to create more diverse counseling options for students and more mentorship programs to campus for underrepresented students. She is also a big advocate for the creation of gender-neutral bathrooms on campus.

WVU’s SGA is comprised of an elected president, VP, 29 college senators and 12 senators at-large. The university’s election took place online from March 9 to 10. Both Jernigan and Moore were officially elected after WVU’s SGA Judicial Court certified the election on March 10.

“Seeing the students energized with their campaigns has been amazing,” said Thanh Le, WVU’s director of student engagement and leadership, in a statement. “Given the circumstances of the past year, passion to serve their student body is evident.”