It is a fact of life; beside every great man is a great woman. The same can be said about Mellori Lumpkin, vice president of Florida A&M’s Student Government Association. Known for being outspoken, Lumpkin, 21, arrived on the scene three years ago and hit the ground running – literally.
“I ran for freshman senator in the fall of 2005 and then in the spring of my freshman year I was elected pro tempore which is basically the vice president of the senate,” said Lumpkin, a native of Bainbridge, Ga. “So then I ran for junior senator and I was elected and then I was able to run for senate president.”
Graduating from Bainbridge High School as valedictorian and managing to secure a full scholarship to the university, Lumpkin, a fourth-year business administration student, said she has always had a keen interest in politics and believed she could prove instrumental in the student government.
“When I was in the sixth grade I wanted to be a senator,” said Lumpkin. “In seventh grade I was a part of the Future Farmers of America. I was the only Black. It was very organized and very structured. It had a very big impact on me. By my senior year I was vice president. I got a glimpse into being a leader.”
The skills and dexterity she honed in the organization was put to use when she set sights on the university’s SGA. Lumpkin, who currently has a 3.8 GPA, said that when she first arrived on campus, female leadership was rather scarce. To that end, the future vice president decided to see what she could do.
“I knew I wanted to focus on three things,” Lumpkin said, “developing the potential of every FAMU student for premiere leadership, personal growth and career success. Being the vice president is a different type of challenge. I feel that the vice president is a visible representation of the administration. They communicate well. They are the relationship manager.”
In addition to her work in SGA, Lumpkin also finds time to serve as parliamentarian for both the Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity and the Beta Alpha Chapter Delta Sigma Theta Inc. She is a member of the Presidential Scholars Association and is heavily involved with the Gubernational Fellowship Program, which was started by Jeb Bush and continued by Governor Charlie Crist. Only eleven students from the state were chosen for the program and Lumpkin is the only one from an HBCU.
With such a heavy load, some students would crumble under the pressure, but not Lumpkin. So what’s her secret?
“I have to plan my time wisely,” Lumpkin said. “I’m not going to lie. It’s hard to balance everything. The week is pretty much a wrap for me. I have to find some time for myself during the weekend or I’ll go crazy.”
When it comes to hard work, Lumpkin is definitely all about it – and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. Ashley Duprat, 21, said the vice president is indeed an achiever.
“Mellori is honestly a teacher,” said Duprat, a fourth-year public relations student from Fort Lauderdale. “Usually you find inspiration in older people but I see it in her. She balances school and her extracurricular activities while managing to stay level headed. She is an all around good person and has a real passion for serving our university.”
Next up on the Vice President’s list are the Leadership Listen Series and the Academic Advisory Council, in which she and Andrew Collins, the SGA president, will meet with representatives from each college, school and institute within the university to provide recommendations on grievance procedures and other issues surrounding the relationship between students and their respective schools. After that is completed, Lumpkin is set to graduate in the spring and is already eyeing law schools.
Until that day comes, students can expect to see her hard at work around the campus, lobbying for certain needs or even striking a pose on a billboard along side Collins. Lumpkin, who is modest, said the billboard is flattering but has done nothing for her ego.
“It’s nice but I can honestly say that it doesn’t do anything for me,” she said. “What does it for me is when I speak at a presidential convocation and a freshman comes up and says they feel motivated or inspired. Just knowing that somebody paid attention is what makes me happy. That’s what really counts.”