Larry O. Rivers’ name can usually be found in a professor’s roll book.
In November, it will also be found on elections ballots.
Rivers, a 20-year-old broadcast journalism student, is running for the Ochlockonee River and Soil Conservation Supervisor position for the 4th District. The ORSWC is authorized by the Florida legislature to assist in soil and water conservation throughout Leon County.
If elected, the Tallahassee native would become the youngest elected black to assume the post since the group’s establishment in 1940.
The Board of Supervisors for the Ochlockonee River and Soil Conservation group consists of five people elected to serve four-year terms.
Among the issues Rivers will address in his campaign are the growing problems of storm water run off and soil erosion facing his district, a predominately black southside community.
If Rivers has his way, more devices to divert storm water runoff will be put in place.
While Rivers said he is be seeking votes from residents all over Leon County, he hopes his campaign sparks greater student interest in the civic process.
“I want to get students involved in this as well,” Rivers said. “I want them to realize that college is not only a time to learn their books, but to understand the meaning of citizenship.”
It was that call to citizenship that influenced River’s decision to run for the post.
“This just has to be in your heart,” he said.
His passion for how environmental issues affect the African American community was something Student Government Association President Andre Hammel noticed when he signed on as treasurer for Rivers’ campaign.
“I knew it was for a good cause,” said Hammel, a political science student from Mitchellville, Md.
Hammel said Rivers’ role as a liaison and adviser to him during his presidential campaign and his knowledge of the issues make him a natural fit for the office of ORSWC. He has continued to demonstrate his ability as the SGA’s deputy chief of staff.
“Larry is bright and confident and I can’t think of a better advocate,” Hammel said.
Rivers said he hopes to educate the public on the function of the ORSWC. He plans to use aggressive campaigning and the establishment of a website to do so.
Kenjay Williams, Rivers’ campaign manager, sees the bigger picture of what River’s appointment could represent.
“This is another avenue to get African Americans in leadership positions,” said Williams, 21, a business administration student from Denver. “He can hopefully better address issues that deal with FAMU and the surrounding community, that a resident who sits on the board from Killearn might not fully understand.”