Georgia State’s Andrew Lay on being Mr. Perimeter, service and leadership

After being crowned Mr. Perimeter, Lay wanted to do more than just be a public figure; he wanted to serve his school and community in more ways than one. Submitted by Andrew Lay

From being crowned Mr. Perimeter to creating a Panther’s Pantry at neighboring campuses, Andrew Lay strives to make his community a better place inside and outside the classroom.

Growing up in the church, Lay was heavily involved within his community and prided himself on how much he loves to give back to others. Taking this mindset back to school, Lay is also a part of many organizations on the Decatur Campus such as Collegiate 100, Panther Activity Council, State Farm Scholars and Student Government Association.

“My mom and dad are pastors and bishops and I go with them to pass out food and clothes to people who are without homes,” Lay said. “You just don’t know what people go through and what they’re living like, so that’s what encourages me.”

After graduating from Georgia State’s Perimeter campus in Decatur with his associate’s degree in Business Administration, Lay is back on campus aiming for his Bachelor’s degree in Nonprofit Leadership. With this degree, he has plans to have his own non-profit one day to truly give back to others the way he has always wanted.

One role that Lay played during his college career was accepting the title of Mr. Perimeter. In this position, Lay was able to meet with President Mark Becker, take pictures, and socialize with other Royal Court and alumni students.

Although Lay was pleased to accept this title, he hoped that by being Mr. Perimeter, he would be a leader amongst his peers and serve as a fair representation of Georgia State and what it truly means to be a panther.

“When I became Mr. Perimeter, I looked at it as a big leadership role within the community and whatever I say or do is in the eyes of the public,” Lay said.” However, it  was never an actual leadership role where you help out with SGA, Spotlight or PAC.”

With Lay wanting to impact and change his campus heavily, he took it upon himself to be the change that he wanted to see and created the Panther’s Pantry for the Clarkson and Decatur campuses at Georgia State.

“Going to the downtown pantry as a Perimeter student the commute is almost 20 minutes or more including traffic, and you can only imagine coming from Clarkson,” Lay said. “That alone encouraged me to start the pantry, along with my friend.”

After noticing a friend in an unfortunate situation, Lay knew that he needed to help out somehow. With the help of his parents, he was able to get all the resources together to bring this pantry to life.

“I got the okay from Student Life and they allowed me to set up a table where I could leave the food and I allowed it to be open for all students and faculty,” Lay said. “Just to see the outcome of so many people receiving these resources showed me alone that there is a need in this community.” 

As Lay continues to make his mark on whichever campus he steps on, he also encourages others to do the same within their communities and campus.

“There are so many great opportunities that are being given at Georgia State,” Lay said.”It’s important to get involved with organizations on your campus and start networking because you never know who the people that can actually help you in your career pathway are.”