Jelani Gandy, Stockton ’21, is candidate for New Jersey’s Atlantic County Commissioner and seeks to represent District 2. Brother Gandy is committed to addressing the following challenges: twenty-first century job creation, investing in renewable energy, addressing the inequities of public-school funding, creating socioeconomic justice, and perhaps most importantly, COVID-19 vaccine distribution. After the experience of the untimely death of an uncle, he is committed to eradicating the devastation left by the coronavirus.
In 2018, Jelani was elected to serve as founding president of the Phi Delta Theta Chapter of Stockton University, an organization that promotes philanthropy. Successes include raising thousands of dollars to support various causes, including the Live Like Lou Foundation, which is dedicated to raising awareness of ALS and giving hope to those struggling with this disease. Also elected to the Student Senate in 2018, he served diligently on the Student Affairs Committee.
As a political science major at Stockton University, Jelani worked as an intern in the legislative office of Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo and John Armato, and later joined their re-election campaign. The following year, he joined the Amy Kennedy for Congress campaign and contributed to various projects within her campaign. He currently serves as the New Jersey state director of the United Rural Democrats, a coalition dedicated to raising awareness regarding the various issues facing rural communities nationwide.
Jelani’s values and aspirations are deeply rooted in his upbringing. His mother, who currently works for the federal government, inspired civic service and responsibilities with empathy and candor. His father, now deceased, was a small business owner who demonstrated the value of working diligently to better oneself, the future of family, and the future of community.
When asked what being president of a Phi Delta Theta emerging chapter meant, Brother Gandy said,
“When I first got to Stockton University, I knew I wanted to join an organization that was bigger than me. Never did I imagine I would become the founding president of one. In my nearly four years of being a brother and founder of the New Jersey Delta Chapter, I have learned that nothing is impossible when you have a good group surrounding you.
Every founder put incredible work into creating what is now the largest fraternity on campus and I am proud to call them my brothers for life.
As president, the skill most transferable to my professional life is being able to communicate and more importantly listen. Being president of any organization is no easy task, but what I found is that listening makes the job easier. When hardships come, it is only by listening and respecting what everybody had to say that allows us to persevere.
As founders we struggled because there was not a singular vision shared between all of us; but rather, through our diversity, we were able to accomplish more than what we thought was possible.
I have enjoyed every second of being a New Jersey Delta member of Phi Delta Theta and I have extreme confidence in my brothers and chapter leaders that are rising up to take the reins.”