Meet your SGA President, Lilly Blankenship

 

BRCC News | Published August 7, 2019

Portrait of Lilly Blankenship

Lilly Blankenship, Student Government Association President at Blue Ridge Community College, in addition to working on numerous projects across campus, is also a dedicated student who sees the value of starting your education at a two-year school.  

Originally from Hendersonville, the 19-year-old is a proud sophomore, who has already completed a diploma program in medical administration and is finishing up her last year in an associate’s degree.

A graduate of East Henderson High School, Blankenship initially wanted to attend North Greenville University in South Carolina for both its athletics and academics programs; however, due to the overall cost, she returned home and enrolled in Blue Ridge.  

“From there, it seemed like I was able to figure out exactly what I wanted to do with my life,” she said.

Blankenship is a business administration major, who originally wanted to work in the medical field, but changed her major after working various local internships, including one for Blue Ridge President Dr. Laura Leatherwood’s office.

Working in student leadership roles presented her with an opportunity to work part-time at Blue Ridge, a position she currently serves in.

She said she “most definitely” is happy with her decision to attend the community college instead of a four-year university right away.

“Really thinking about the pillars that Blue Ridge has on its logo, it’s not a joke or lie, there are so many opportunities here. They know the right people, they know how to get you into the jobs that you want to have, even if it’s entry-level things like work studies and internships like I did,” she said.

She also denounced the stigma that a community college provides less valuable education as being completely misinformed, and said the sky is the limit at Blue Ridge.

She stated many of her friends in high school believed they’d miss out on student life involvement if they attended community college first, but has found that belief to be wildly inaccurate.

“Community college gives students opportunities to decide where they’d like to transfer based on their experiences and interests,” Blankenship said.

She also praised the smaller class sizes at Blue Ridge for providing a more personable, intimate setting that allows for deeper discussion. While you’re simply a number at larger universities, instructors know your name at Blue Ridge, and will often work with students if they encounter issues with assignments.  

As SGA president, Blankenship and the other members of SGA serve as role models at Blue Ridge while at the same time offering fun events for students to attend. The goal for SGA is to give students a reason to remain on campus, rather than simply come to class then go home.

Aside from events, SGA members must conduct themselves respectfully outside the college, as they are its unspoken ambassadors.

Members of SGA include Blankenship, a vice president, treasurer, secretary, public relations officer and several senators and ambassadors.

As president, Blankenship serves on the Board of Trustees and attends their meetings as well as the president’s council. She said seeing what the faculty and staff are doing helps her to engage students, as it shows her what each department is working on or needing help with.

SGA also attends a leadership council in the fall and spring each year called N4CSGA. This gives them the chance to meet and speak with other student leaders and see what programs they’re implementing and how each different campus engages with students.

“The goal is, ‘How can we help community colleges as a whole?’ That way students will want to come to them instead of starting their college path at a big, expensive, four-year school,” Blankenship said.

Having served in student leadership since the spring of her freshman year, Blankenship started in SGA as a senator. After officers went on to graduate or transfer, numerous openings needed filling, and Blankenship was asked to be acting vice president temporarily. After this, she decided to run for president and won.

Through Blankenship’s leadership, students can expect events like the Fall Festival and Spring Picnic, which is held annually complete with activities and free food. Her leadership team also indulges in various service projects around campus and the community.

Through her work with Blue Ridge, she now works part-time in the college’s Registrar’s Office, a role she started in July.

Being raised to never expect handouts, Blankenship said she’s always been driven to earn whatever she gets in life, which was a philosophy she adhered to when running track and field.

“If you want something, you’ve got to earn it. Nothing in life is free. My drive from sports really transferred over into my academic life, and I’m excited to be involved in so much on campus,” she said.

After she earns her associate’s, she’d like to remain at Blue Ridge full-time if the opportunity is available.

Once she’s finished college, Blankenship hopes to work in an administrative office.

To contact Blankenship, email her at l_blankenship@blueridge.edu.