Alumna connects with community members

“I lost my dad,” said Part-Time Lecturer of Justice and Policy Studies Jada Drew ’07.

“After that I was just going, going, going. I was a successful student, I did the whole Bonner thing. … (I was ready) to leave Greensboro, to try something new, but there was always a gravitational pull. I think what kept me was something higher than me and a very genuine love.”

We can all learn something from Drew, a Guilford alumna who has continued to inspire the Guilford community beyond her graduation from the College.

Drew, a Bonner Scholar during her time at Guilford, started a community site called “Africana Change.” It continues to be active nine years later. She later went to graduate school and started her own company, “Social Designs.” She recently released her book titled “Revolutionize Now.”

Drew served as the Director of the Multicultural Education Department until last year and has now returned to Guilford as a part-time lecturer. Despite her many opportunities to move beyond Guilford, she has always chosen to stay connected.

As we move toward the end of the school year, we are reminded of the fickle nature of connections, and it can be difficult to remember why we are here.

We reflect on our time at Guilford this year and as a whole and think about what is to come. Will connections that we have fostered stay with us, and will experiences continue to shape us in an impermeable and everlasting way?

For Drew, they have.

She remembers the people that have shaped her experience and have stood next to her during the challenges and triumphs in her life.

How can we all feel the same sense of belonging at Guilford after we leave?

I believe if we try to foster the connections that we have on campus and within the Greensboro community, our alma mater will always be our home and a source of pride.

Focusing on and balancing our studies in order to succeed will help ensure that we as students have a full and rich life. We need to make sure that we build connections with people that build us up and support our dreams.

While at the Golden Circle induction, a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Guilford alumni, I sat next to Drew, whom I have known since my first year through many Multicultural Education Department events.

During my time as a Bonner Scholar, I have focused on education and children’s defense, and I have often talked to Drew about my journey.

During the event, she leaned over and asked about my major. I told her that I was studying political science and English.

“I think that one day, you’re going to be one of the greatest educators and leaders in the nation,” Drew said in a whisper. “I can feel it.”

Those simple words affirmed me deeply, and Drew affirms others at Guilford in the same way through her work.

Watching and learning from her for almost three years has left me in awe of all that she has accomplished.

Drew’s story is one of many that leave us inspired at Guilford. Connecting with someone you admire is a wonderful opportunity, but it is underappreciated and under-practiced at Guilford.

She, like so many of us, is connected to Guilford because of what it has done for her. It is so important to continue to build those connections for our future.

So what can we learn from Drew?

Speak up. Let those around you hear the affirmations that you have always thought and felt but have yet to say, and remember to build connections.