Student attendance disappointing

Former Senator and 2004 vice presidential candidate, John Edwards, visited FAMU’s campus Thursday, as a part of his college tour.

Unfortunately, few seemed to care. Of the 10 colleges on his tour, our campus is the only HBCU, which we should have been proud of. A lot of effort was put into his visit by our Student Government Association, as well as others.

However, the effort was unmatched in attendance. I understand that the timing of his visit may have conflicted with students schedules since he spoke at roughly 12:20 p.m., but it’s disappointing when a speaker of his level visits our campus, and has to look at many empty seats in the audience.

I’ve never been a political person, but it didn’t stop me from exiting class early just to have a chance to hear the man speak and compare views. FAMU is a predominantly black university, but when Edwards visited our campus it seemed we were the minority on our own campus. Several FSU students and interested white residents of Tallahassee were on hand. Why is it when BET, or any “Mr. 15 minutes of fame” rapper comes to our campus, students are easily absent from class or call in late to work. But when anyone on the political level comes to campus, students are too busy. It was a decent turnout of students, but I could have seen more of “us”.

For those who weren’t there, his main topic was anti-poverty. After speaking with several of the students in attendance for a conglomerate of opinions, I noticed a lot of people were skeptical of his ideas because they were vaguely mentioned in his almost 40-minute speech.

Others just assumed it was a way to reach future aspirations. You have to understand he is one of the few figure heads that has put forth a major effort to end poverty.

I still consider Edwards’ visit to the campus a success and I applaud SGA and others that helped set it up.

One question he asked that sticks out in my mind was “Where is America’s Voice?” in reference to the rest of the world’s problems. But I ask, where is FAMU’s voice? He asked students to commit to 20 hours of community service per semester. Is it too much to ask?

We have some of the nations most intelligent black men and women, but when are we going to prove it?

Alexander Hanna is a fourth-year business administration student from Chicago. He can be reached at