In Your Words

Students Leading Students: A Q&A with Kylie Burke, HUSA President

Kylie Burke headshot standing outside by trees

Kylie Burke, president of the Howard University Student Association for the 2021-2022 year, is a senior prelaw, honors political science major from the San Francisco Bay Area. She plans to pursue a J.D./MPP program post-graduation and to become a lawyer and policy advocate. She reflects on the pandemic and how it changed Howard students and its governance as well as how they can become active and involved.

Q:  What’s it like to be back on campus for you?

A: The entire D.C./Shaw area feels more familiar now – like you can’t go anywhere without seeing someone you know or at least someone in Howard apparel. And I love that, especially when you end up meeting new people who reach out just because they see you wearing a Howard t-shirt. Last year, I really missed that community and family feel a lot. As a student leader, I would occasionally be called to campus, but visiting and seeing the Yard so quiet/empty felt unnatural. 

Q: What do you think is different between your year in office and prior years?

A: Almost everything is different. I think student government and University leadership have always had to sustain an implied level of flexibility, but these are unprecedented times. Everyone has to be prepared to (quickly) make drastic changes based on new information. But even with the unprecedented times, I feel the goal is still the same for the Howard University Student Association: advocate for students, contribute to a safe and engaging campus environment, and pursue meaningful student-centric policy changes. 

Q: What are some of your top goals you hope to accomplish this year?

A: We have three main goals for the year: 

    1. Optimize student government to become more internally connected, accessible to students and effective in large-scale advocacy projects; 
    2. Transition to an improved on-campus community, meaning we must work to acclimate the first-time college students to being on campus and set positive social examples for what “being a Bison” is; and
    3. Restore student power by increasing representation on advisory committees and continuing to advocate for all stakeholders to be heard by University leadership. 

Q:  How can students help get these goals accomplished?

A: An easy way for any and everyone to help is by doing their part to keep campus safe. That means wearing a mask, social distancing and treating each member of the Howard community with respect. Students can also apply to join HUSA! We have applications out for freshmen and first-year transfer students currently available on our social media @HUSAssociation. 

Q: What do you want students coming to campus for the first time to take away?

A: This is YOUR TIME, use all of it! Please take advantage of everything, from all the people you can connect with and the places you can go around D.C. to the professional or academic opportunities available through Howard. One day very soon you’ll look up and be a senior like me, so do all that you can now to ensure you get to walk across the stage with no regrets, lots of memories, lifelong friends and, of course, a well-earned degree!