In efforts to offer students an opportunity to learn more from influential leaders, the Student Government Association has already begun planning for the future. The “wish list” includes Aaron McGruder, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Russell Simmons, Barack Obama and Jeff “Cousin Jeff” Johnson on a guest panel.
After the visit from Cornel West, the SGA members said they felt that their $8,000 investment was worth every penny. SGA President Ramon Alexander, 21, a senior political science student from Tallahassee, said the $8,000 was the only amount taken from the students’ funds. He also said that the remainder of the costs came from ticket sales, the Board of Trustees and corporate sponsors along with the community.
“We got sponsorships, wrote letters, asked the Board of Trustees for funds and we also had a reception to raise money,” SGA Vice President Phillip Agnew said.
“We created a contract with Cornel West, and in the contract he was only supposed to go to speak in Lee Hall, go the reception and go to the meet-and-greet with the students,” said Agnew, 20, a junior business administration student from Chicago.
Agnew said that West agreed to do more than what was required in the contract and was even willing to stay as long as possible to meet the needs of the students.
“West also said this was the best service he has received in years,” Agnew said.
SGA hopes that by establishing a good rapport with speakers they will attract new speakers to come to campus and share their experiences.
Although many students are excited about the upcoming panel, some say they didn’t have enough access to the past speakers.
“They should have had the last speaker in the stadium and canceled all the classes during that time,” said Alexia Keys, 21, a senior social work student.
Keys, a Dallas native, was unable to attend Cornel West’s speech because of class schedule conflicts.
She said that she felt most students would have participated if it was treated more like convocation.
Agnew said the event would have been held in the Leon County Civic Center, but SGA wanted to focus on FAMU students.
Many students agree with Agnew, and want to encourage speakers to come keep it a “FAMU thing.”
“I would like to know what inspired (Aaron McGruder) to create ‘The Boondocks,’ it seems like he would have a lot to say to the black community,” said Abdul Sharif, 19, a sophomore political science student from Miami.
He added that McGruder holds up a mirror with his work that tells black people to take a look at themselves and make a change.
“I think as a whole the University needs speakers to come and educate us,” said Trakeya Moore, 20, a pharmacy student from Miami. “They give more inspiration for the betterment of the people.”
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