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Students Take on Washington at Power Shift 2011

FAMU and FSU send joint delegation to represent Tallahassee

By Roscoe Thompson and Ursula Ible
On April 19, 2011

N-Hudson

Writer: Matthew Richardson

William Hudson, Jr., stands as the only in-house candidate for the Vice President of Student Affairs position. So far, two of the three candidates have been interviewed, Hudson being the second.

Hudson was first interviewed by faculty members and was most recently interviewed by students in the Student Government Association's senate chamber.

Students had the opportunity to listen to Hudson's bid for the position and why he is the best choice to lead the department.

"I think that we have a lot that we can do here at Florida A&M University," Hudson said. "We have a brand that we have to reestablish. We have things that we need to do to push forward because if we don't do it, someone else will dictate it for us."

Hudson, the director of Office of Retention, is serving as the interim VP of student affairs and admitted to the students that he was not initially interested in acquiring a permanent role.

"Honestly, at first, I didn't want this position but as I was asked to be the interim, my mind started to change," Hudson said. "One of my adages is ‘if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.' so how can I complain about things within student affairs if I'm not willing to spearhead it and make things better. I think I have done that somewhat to an extent now, but the vision that I have for this division, I think that we can be one of the top schools in the nation."

SGA President-elect Breyon Love hosted the interview and encouraged students to inquire about Hudson's plans for FAMU in the midst of intense budget cuts.

Hudson answered the question with ease as he focused on taking advantage of FAMU's technology.

"Leveraging technology is going to be the most significant aspect of the 2020 plan as far s restructuring and reinvestment because I think that our services are not up to par because we are not automated," Hudson said. "We're doing a lot of things manually and when you're imputing things manually, you're taking a long time to get services done and a lot of it can be automated."

The next interview with final candidate G. David Moss, a Florida State graduate, will on Wednesday. Moss is the assistant vice president of student affairs at the University of Notre Dame.

The VPSA position has been vacant since last June, when Roland Gaines retired. He worked for FAMU for 36 years, with a six-year stint as vice chancellor of student affairs at North Carolina Central University as the only interruption. "It just so happens that there is a time to leave, to relax and chill out and enjoy life," Gaines said.

The search committee started looking for Gaines' replacement in September. At the time, Hudson, who headed the initial search committee, was considered the front-runner for the job.

Henry Kirby, FAMU dean of students, was one of three finalists interviewed for the job last October. However, none of the candidates was recommended for the position. In December, a group of "student leaders" publicly backed Kirby for the job.

A committee later resumed the search, leading to the selection of Hudson and the other two.

WASHINGTON - Beginning Friday, the Walter E. Washington Conference Center in Washington D.C. became a place for 10,000 young people to share ideas on how to create a sustainable environment.

Power Shift 2011 kicked with over 100 workshops, panels and training sessions supporting the growing movement of climate change and clean energy policies, with 40 FAMU and FSU students in attendance.

Conference attendees had the opportunity to hear from keynote speakers including former vice president Al Gore, environmentalists Bill McKibben and Van Jones, along with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson and others.

" We have to take action to prevent our country and the world, putting a price on carbon is the goal of cap-and-trade plans and other proposals to ensure emissions cuts, but such measures face gigantic hurdles in the current Congress," Gore told the crowd at Friday night's opening plenary.

Van Jones, who served as the green jobs advisor in the Obama administration in 2009, spoke passionately during his keynote address, expressing the need to "shift the power" and "help lead the clean power revolution." " You have to be wise enough to hold both parties to high standards, while they're stuck on stupid in D.C., your generation is rising," said Jones.

"Listening to these powerful and influential men talk to us not as politicians but as caring people who want to see a nicer environment, means so much to me," said Jaden Sporks, a third-year environmental science student at the University of Central Florida from Pensacola.

Among other things, students learned grassroots movement-building skills to activate sustainability in their communities. Students also got to experience activism first-hand by having the opportunity to lobby elected officials and participate in a peaceful climate rally amongst thousands outside the Capitol.

"Students need to be engaged," said Green For All Campus Ambassador Jomar Floyd, a senior healthcare management student from Orlando. " It's important to involve students - especially in civic engagement and during the legislative session, because that is when policies are being decided on- we need to make sure our voices are being heard."

Trained facilitators hosted workshops, such as "Sex & Sustainability," "The Black Caucus" and "LGBTQ Allies," to teach conference participants about all facets of the movement.

The objective of the summit was to focus on a vital step of the clean energy movement: cultivating the next generation of green leaders and encouraging them to be proactive at their local campuses. Environmental organizations, leaders, and non-profit groups will host educational panels and workshops to teach students skills on building an inclusive green economy.

"I am pretty excited to see activism in progress and get some cool leadership development skills. I want to bring back what I learn to teach people," said Carlie Sattler, a junior psychology and communication science disorder student at FSU.

While learning about the benefits of a green economy, conference participants learned how they can support the Clean Air Act, which in the last 40 years has saved many lives by regulating the pollution from big industries. Students also shared ideas to address their concerns around being a sustainable community and solutions on how they can create real change and initiatives at their local campuses.

"It's about empowering our world," said Reamonn Soto, a senior physics student at Florida A&M from Tallahassee. "Sustainability should be at the forefront of our everyday conversations; it will reduce poverty and create jobs."

One way to encourage the community to practice sustainable habits; for instance, could be through student-led educational workshops that teach water conservation methods at home, ways to be energy efficient as well as, promoting reusing, recycling and reducing individual waste generation.

"Addressing the climate crisis is the most important issue facing human kind," said LaRae Donnellan, adviser of the FAMU Green Coalition. "We can all help people connect the dots between the environment and their lives."

Like many others, Alex Sanders, a FSU student was empowered by the weekend's events.

"I just want to be a better leader. There is so much energy and action already going on in Tallahassee and we got to get the ball rolling between FAMU and FSU," said Saunders, a third-year media production student.


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