When it comes to finding a niche on a university campus, getting involved can be a student’s best bet. But, what happens if that perfect fit isn’t available? That’s easy.
Students can start a student group of their own.
That was University of Houston-Victoria graduate student D’Andrala “DeDe” Alexander’s solution when she started the university’s Black Student Union a few weeks ago.
Inspiration came from her undergraduate years at Washington University in St. Louis, where she was active in several groups, including the Association of Black Students.
“It was a big part of my life as an undergrad,” she said, explaining it not only gave her a chance to meet other students, but also to do community service, take in lectures and more. “I felt like students at UHV deserved something like that.”
Thus, the new group was born.
Although still in its infancy, the 24-year-old said things have moved along quickly. The Black Student Union recently began selecting officers and even took part in Victoria’s Black History Month Parade.
“I think people are excited to have something new here on campus, a new way to get involved,” she said. “I wanted to give students a group they could be invested in.”
The Dallas-area native graduated from Carrollton Christian Academy in 2006. She moved on to Washington University, where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in philosophy-neuroscience –psychology with a minor in women and gender studies.
She selected UHV for its forensic psychology program and hopes to someday work in the public sector, rehabilitating at-risk youth or the like.
While Alexander’s schedule keeps her constantly on the go – aside from classes, she works at Jaguar Hall and now factors the student union into the mix - she prefers it that way. She played basketball through high school and her undergraduate years, spent a year in an AmeriCorps program at Habitat for Humanity and a St. Louis shelter for those who escaped domestic violence.
All in all, she enjoys keeping busy.
“I’ve never had a boring life. My parents never allowed it,” she said as she laughed. “I love being involved. I don’t know how to just be a student.”
Alexander encouraged other students to join groups or link up with others who have similar interests. It can help people stay plugged in to what’s happening on campus and even develop their own support system.
“It’s easy to feel alone sometimes, when you’re at school and concentrating on your classes,” she said. “But there are so many cool things going on. Stay connected.”
The UHV Outstanding Student is an online feature highlighting the exceptional students who attend the University of Houston-Victoria. To nominate a student, contact Paula Cobler, UHV interim director of marketing and communications, or call 361-570-4350.