Student Government stays ‘Rock Solid’

Student Body President André T. Hammel, leader of the Rock Solid Administration, sat anxiously on the set of the FAMU 20 television studio. He was excited about the taping of the pilot for “SGA Today,” the first ever student government television show, which will begin airing in the fall. “This is a dream come true for me,” André exclaimed. “When I was a freshman, I suggested to the student body president that he should start a student government TV show. Now, I’m actually making it happen.”Beside him a young lady gave her signature smile as she completed her sound check.”Hello, I am Tisa M. Holley, student body vice-president,” she declared with poise and distinction, reminiscent of her days as a junior attendant to the royal court.For the leaders of the Rock Solid Administration, initiating firsts has been a regular occurrence during their short tenure in office.Weeks earlier, Hammel and Holley achieved one of their biggest platform goals-securing funds to renovate the William H. Gray, Jr. Plaza, which sits in the middle of the female dormitories. For years, the Gray Plaza was one of the campus’ most embarrassing eyesores. A walk inside revealed peeling paint, stained and torn carpet, dirty windows, broken furniture piled in corners, electrical cords exposed from the ceiling and litter on the floor. Yet, where others saw a useless building, the Rock Solid Administration saw a glimmering student recreation/study facility with conference rooms, offices, and computer labs and recreation areas for students.Last year Hammel served as student body vice-president and spearheaded an effort to find money to repair the plaza’s dilapidated, leaking roof. With the university administration’s help, he wants to have it open for business no later than spring 2002.”And to think, people laughed at me when I first presented this idea,” Hammel said. “They said it couldn’t be done.”Hammel, a senior political science student from Mitchellville, Md. is used to beating expectations. Critics told him he could never be a senator, vice president or student body president. Now they say he can never achieve his ambitious platform. Renovating Gray Plaza is only one goal on a list of many.”We’ve been so, so blessed to be able to do so many things for the students already.” Holley said. “We’re bringing eleven new blue security lights to campus, putting lights to the basketball court and convinced the city to place a traffic turn signal at the Wahnish and Gamble intersection.” Unlike Hammel, Holley has never served in SGA. She offers her successful experience in making the transition into elected student leadership as encouragement for others.”When you keep God first, you can accomplish anything,” she said with a smile.