BSU president at FSU making a difference

Picture of Andrew Melville: Office of the President – Florida State University 

He is a young man with a dream to change lives.

“Where I'm from, a lot of black kids hear about college and think it’s just cool but there are so many more opportunities that come along with college,” said Andrew Melville, the Florida State University Black Student Union president. “I just want to make sure that they are in the best possible position that they can accomplish that successfully.”

Melville, a Palm Beach, is a senior at FSU. He is a double major in international affairs and economics.

The Black Student Union is known for developing unity among African American students so that they can have the opportunity to express concerns and problems they might face on campus and within the community.

Melville’s original first choice for school was not FSU. Instead, he intended to go to the University of Alabama, home of the Crimson Tide.

FSU was the last school to offer him a letter of acceptance and the most affordable scholarship. That sealed the deal when it came to being a Seminole.

After stepping foot on campus as a freshman in Fall 2014 Melville didn't know many people but was encouraged by his mentors to become more involved.

He began with the FSU Homecoming Committee and by joining a non-profit service organization called Progressive Black Men, whose purpose is to promote positive images of African American men in today's society.

In 2015, Melville knew that he wanted to run for the Black Student Union position on campus.

“I attended a conference named leadership and that’s where I made my decision that I wanted to be the BSU president one day,” Melville said.

Melville was elected BSU president in April 2017.

Third-year FSU student Chelsea Beckton said that there is no difference between students on campus and BSU leaders because they are all look upon as equals.

“On campus I would say they are perceived as ideal candidates of black excellence,” said Beckton. “They’re approachable and relatable, yet carry confidence and live up to their titles.”

According to Florida State University student affairs informatoin, there are 62.6 percent white students and 8.3 percent black students enrolled in Fall 2016.

Melville said the atmosphere in a classroom setting at FSU for a black male can be challenging.

“It’s normal for me because at my high school it was always a mixed group of people but it can get hard sometimes because you sit in a class and out of the 250 people in class I may be the only black male,” Melville said.

“It’s not discouraging,” he added. “If anything, it’s encouraging because you’re in an environment where people around you may not want you to succeed as they may want their race to succeed. I just use it as motivation.”

Candace Thompson, a 2016 FSU grad, traveled with the BSU to Atlanta for a service trip helping students beautify their school. 

“They chose to go to Atlanta to help communities that may otherwise go overlooked,” said Thompson “There were different groups, one group was gardening, the other one was painting and the other one was working with the kids by mentoring them. There were different stations with different goals but the same objective, to beautify the school inside and out.”

Melville strives to continue to change people’s lives through his community involvement and outreach initiatives.

“I don’t care about being remembered for this, because this is something that I am passionate about,” he said.