SLU student discusses life aspirations, student group involvement
It’s not very often that one comes across a character quite like SLU student Jonathan Pulphus. A first-year student majoring in African American Studies, Pulphus is a driven and inspiring individual who knows what it means to be involved in his university’s community.
Pulphus came to SLU from Crossroads College Preparatory High School and had formerly attended Patrick Henry Downtown Academy. His transitioning from an inner-city public school to a private prep school allowed him a journey that many students never experience.
“[At Patrick Henry] it wasn’t survival academically, it was survival like your personhood,” said Pulphus. In attending Crossroads, he had to change this mindset to one that required defending his personhood through academics, and he found that this challenge allowed him a smooth transition into the SLU community.
“SLU continues that narrative,” said Pulphus. “I love that about SLU.”
Pulphus also found SLU’s Jesuit mission to be an appealing aspect of the university. More importantly to him, though, were the organizations that specialize this Jesuit mission, such as SLU’s Black Student Alliance (BSA) and African American Male Scholars Initiative (AAMS). Upon coming to SLU, Pulphus was welcomed by BSA and AAMS and today he finds himself involved in the two organizations as well as spearheading the push for a NAACP chapter at the university.
“We have opportunities to reinvent ourselves whenever we go into new spaces,” said Pulphus. To him, these student organizations allow him that opportunity and contradict the notion that one must conform to a societal idea or standard. His involvement in these organizations have informed him on the issue of underrepresentation of African American students at SLU, which is an issue he feels very passionate about and a message that he says he will continue to push while at the university.
Pulphus finds encouragement for his many aspirations from his family as well as from the faculty he has encountered throughout his academic career. He expresses gratification at the many role models in his life and wishes to be one for his younger siblings.
When he is not too busy with his involvement in student organizations, Pulphus spends his time volunteering and tutoring – and essentially fighting for the betterment of humanity. He also enjoys reading in his free time.
“I would rather have a book in my hand than to have a video game controller in my hand,” said Pulphus. “Just because it adds so much to your conversations with other people…somebody always knows more.”
Pulphus hopes to attend law school and combine legal studies with his passion for areas in society that need more attention. He wishes to fight gender and race barriers – and he reminds himself of this every day by donning a pink hair pick.