Being in a position of power can be rewarding and problematic. There is the glitz and glamour of authority when good decisions are made. With power comes influence and opportunity to inform others. Gratification comes when acknowledged and reverenced by peers. On the flip side, there is tension and pressure when expectations are high and progress comes slow. It is difficult when successive demands arise and criticism runs rampant. Leaders are responsible when things do not go as planned. This presents juxtaposition for leaders to navigate through. A strong vision is an element necessary to stabilize a group facing different circumstances.
For the NAACP chapter (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) at UWG, as president, Jordan Legree’s ambition elevated the organization’s vision and standard.
“I saw it as an opportunity to better myself and my community,” said Legree. “We do not have many strong black organizations on campus. I knew I wanted to be involved when I found out about it.”
Legree is a senior at UWG and majors in sports management. He plays an integral part in the NAACP, along with organizations like Greek Council and the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. Legree stressed the need to participate in endeavors that will help a person grow. He said his NAACP position has forced him to become a better communicator and get out of his comfort zone.
The UWG NAACP chapter was almost non-existent when Legree learned about the organization two years ago. According to him, the Carroll County NAACP asked him about his interest in the organization. The UWG chapter only had four members when he joined. After assessing the need for direction, Legree took initiative and welcomed the challenge as president. Within two years, the organization has seen membership expand to nearly 100 members.
“I started going to meetings and members asked, ‘Who wants to be president?’ and nobody raised their hand,” he said . “I raised my hand, and I ended being president. I did not know what came with the title, but I learned over time and rolled with the punches.”
Legree witnessed the organization’s progress.. Students followed his footsteps in taking ownership and commitment. He knew it would take time to enhance the culture around NAACP, but his efforts paid off quicker than expected.
“I am very proud of where we are now,” said Legree. “When we first started, the meetings were in Pafford with only five people. Now we are in Bonner with a classroom full of students. Members are always attending events and supporting at membership drives with their NAACP shirts. We did not always have that. The members want to make a change.”
Legree’s job is to address race-related issues on campus and make efforts to rectify the problems. His perspective holds a certain weight. He has measured the racial climate at UWG and has noticed national trends affecting the campus that impede social change.
“We have segregation issues on campus,” he said . “There is a difference between being diverse and inclusive. When organizations set up on campus, if you do not look or talk like some students, students will not stop and ask questions. We do not include each other in a lot of things we do. We self-segregate ourselves in a lot of ways.”
Legree and other members work to acknowledge different topics pertaining to students. On March 9, the organization held an event highlighting necessary precautions students should make when encountering law enforcement. The chapter’s mission is to enlighten and encourage students to get involved, express their concerns and make a difference in their environment.
Legree will leave NAACP better than he found it. He is not concerned about the future of the chapter because he has seen the organization advance rapidly. His vision for the UWG NAACP is firm and progressive, setting the bar for future leaders.
“I want the NAACP to be the biggest minority organization on campus,” he said . “I can see it and feel it because of the enthusiasm of our members. I am thankful that once I pass the torch, the right person will keep the vision going.”