Sierra Ashworth: the first continuing education GSBA President


Sierra Ashworth

Sierra Ashworth, pictured here, will become the new Guilford Student Body Association President in spring 2021.

Guilford College Student Body Association (GSBA) President Delaney Taylor is set to graduate at the end of this semester. Former Vice President Sierra Ashworth will be succeeding her.

Taylor has been in this position for one semester; she was elected last year during the beginning of COVID-19. 

“I love Guilford and I wanted to represent the student body in my final semester, something I’ve wanted to do since I was a (first-year),” Taylor said. “I personally saw how the previous administration was leading the college down the wrong road, and I wanted to do something about it.”

In this short span of time, Taylor has made an immense impact on the Guilford community during a very troubling semester.

“I think my biggest accomplishment has really been fostering a space for our board to be very productive with what we had to work with,” Taylor said. “It doesn’t seem like a lot, but in our last meeting we were doing sort of a ‘semester recap’ and one thing that everyone was really thankful for was our ability to communicate effectively within the board.” 

As president, she had to navigate the resignation of former Guilford College president Jane Fernandes, virtual classes due to COVID-19 and the most recent news of program and professor cuts. Having Delaney in this leadership position provided students with a strong voice and student-led support. 

“The president’s role is always to help the students while also being the bridge between students and administration,” explained 2019/2020 GSBA president and Guilford alumni Lizzy Kapuscinski. 

After graduating this December, Taylor will remain local to Greensboro until she is able to go into the army. 

Ashworth is the first queer, non-binary continuing education student to be president of the GSBA. Originally from Statesville, North Carolina, they are a senior public health major set to graduate this May. 

Ashworth is also involved in various roles on campus, which include being the vice president of GSBA and student representative for the budget committee. 

“I served on the budget committee as the student representative, and fought for a budget plan that would reduce the harm done to staff, faculty and students,” Ashworth said. Our case and consensus was ignored, and that lit a fire in me that can’t be put out.”

Ashworth has a vast resume in the public health field, creating change in various spaces. “I’ve worked for the POSSE (Prevent Ongoing Spread of STIs Everywhere) program as a Program Assistant in Forsyth County—this position is what made me realize my love for public health,” Ashworth explained. 

This year Ashworth founded a nonprofit organization called My Friend’s House NC.

“We advocate for better health outcomes for marginalized communities through education and advocacy, a food justice initiative, and a clothes closet initiative which provides gender affirming clothing for trans individuals,” they said.

Ashworth’s leadership and advocacy outside of Guilford College will play a vital part in their role as president.

Taylor and Kapuscinski had some advice from their past experience in this role.

“Listen to all the advice you can get,” Kapuscinski said. “There are so many knowledgeable and intelligent people at Guilford who want to help. So many things have changed since my presidency that I don’t think there’s much to carry over (other) than putting the students first, which I know Sierra will always do.” 

“My biggest piece of advice is to remember to breathe,” Taylor added. “This position can become very stressful, and some people may try to get under your skin, but remember that you’re in this position for a reason, and you’re fully capable of handling this. And if you need a break, you have a whole board who will have your back.”

When asked about the reason why Ashworth ran for the presidency, they responded, “I believe in the student body’s ability to make change. I am still here to make sure that every single student’s voice is heard in any way I can.”

Ashworth has various main goals for their time in this presidency, including revising the protest policy that was put in place to silence students of color, implementing a POC student-led review and facilitating conversations between students and the Board of Trustees.

“I want to work with students whose voices are typically silenced and put their needs at the forefront of conversations surrounding the potential cuts proposed by Carol Moore,” said Ashworth. “I aim to be accessible for every student to reach out to with their concerns. Even though it’s my last semester at Guilford, I hope to encourage those who haven’t felt empowered before to take an active role in making Guilford College a community they want to participate in.”