Vote for Miss FVSU to be one of the ten HBCU Campus Queens at this link: http://bit.ly/2gDKQxF
In my life, I’d never expected to be exposed to as many varying experiences as I have this past semester at my HBCU Fort Valley State University. I’ve done things I’ve dreamed of and found myself walking down to road to success that I’ve always wanted to travel. Who knew that becoming a student leader on my campus, even as a sophomore, would yield such great dividends? The responsibility I have is plentiful. I’m an influencer on my college campus. My peers respect my words and my work. They show me unwavering support, sharing my articles on and off their social media profiles. I’m often told that I’m already an immense success and that greater is coming. I smile and take in the adulation, knowing that the work that I put in is finally paying off.
However, I’ve yet to fully wrap my mind around why other dynamic student leaders on my HBCU campus aren’t as lauded and celebrated in the same light as me? Why is it that I hear harsh criticisms about the contributions of the Student Government Association and Royal Court buzzing around the yard? Don’t my peers understand the hard work that’s put into being a representative of a thriving university, particularly an HBCU? Maybe they don’t. No one not immersed in this world truly does.
Royal Court and Student Government Associations on college campuses should be just as respected as the band, sports teams and Greek letter organizations. But, what have we done to garner that respect? Look around the HBCU social media sphere? I’ve yet to see an Instagram or Facebook page dedicated to what SGA and Royal Court does but I can name plenty that highlight tremendous contributions from students and alumni affiliated with Greek-letter organizations. There seems to be plenty of ways to track what our HBCU sports teams are doing. You even see Sportscenter worthy recaps of games played now! (Salute to HBCUGameday)
Even moreso, look at the traditional Black media’s portrayal of HBCU Life. What mention of Royal Court or SGA was in Stomp The Yard or Drumline? College Hill was no better! I can’t even recollect in my memory seeing a representation of these should-be represented institutions in A Different World. Royal Court and SGA aren’t new concepts that sprung up in the 2000’s. I can show you pictures of Campus Queens from the 1930’s.
What is a new concept is putting a spotlight on the standout individuals affiliated with Student Government and Royal Court on our HBCU campuses. I’d be remissed if I didn’t mention my beautiful Campus Queen Candice Howard. After a tooth and nail battle this past Spring and a glorious Coronation ceremony in October, Candice was crowned as the 78th Miss Fort Valley State University, alongside her Campus King Kalo Oglesby. Being involved in SGA this past semester, I saw more of Candice than I ever had before. I took note of her regal swagger and sophisticated demeanor. There was no doubt in my mind that she was poised to be in her position.
It’s easy to be overcome by her breathtaking beauty, but how articulate she is is awe-inspiring in itself. I could listen to her talk for hours and hours, taking note of subtle, sweet southern twang to the way she phrases her words and the dynamic stories that she tells. Of course I’ve always observed Candice whenever I saw her, the love for sophisticated black women and my writing instincts clearly showing. However, in helping her secure a sport as one of EBONY Magazine’s ten HBCU Campus Queens, I got the chance to really learn about her rise to prominence and what she stands for as a black woman.
Often times, we forget that black women are human beings. We’re mesmerized by their amazing, almost superheroine like feats but, at the end of the day, they need love too. They need support. They need attention. Candice epitomizes the aforementioned statements. She epitomizes what being a EBONY HBCU Campus Queen means. I urge for you to cast three daily vote for her at this link —-> http://bit.ly/2gDKQxF <—–, but also take the time to understand the true duties of a Campus Queen. Their only job isn’t to hang on the arm of the Campus King as they smile and wave to the crowd at a Football game. They have real responsibilities. These phenomenal women are also real people with real stories.
I got a chance to chat with Candice on the phone last week. I asked her about her life and her road to becoming Miss Fort Valley State University and she dropped gems on me that left me speechless. I want to share some of the transcribed tidbits of our conversation below.
RB: Introduce yourself to the readers? Who is Candice Howard? What has she accomplished? What does she stand for?
Candice Howard: My name is Candice Howard. I’m a senior Business Management major with a minor in Business Logistics at The Fort Valley State University. I’m from the small city of Waycross, GA. Thus far, I have accomplished more than I could have ever imagined as a young girl going into college. Today, I stand strong for respect and empowerment, especially for women of color.
RB: What has your college experience been like at Fort Valley State University? Before you even became Miss FVSU, how was it for you?
Candice Howard: My freshman year at Fort Valley was a growing experience. I just began as the average college student trying to maintain high scholastic standards. By my second semester, I started to become more active and venture out to see what all the University had to offer me outside of just my degree. That decision seemed like it was just my moment that I begin to bloom and develop into more than just an average girl. But, moreso a lady with purpose.
RB: Did you always plan to run for Miss FVSU?
Candice Howard; Yes! When I was a freshman, I knew that I wanted to be Miss Fort Valley. During my freshman orientation week I’d seen Miss Fort Valley, at the time Lauren Mitchell (Miss Fort Valley State University 2013-2014 School Year) and said “Oh my God, I want to do that!” Stepping into my second semester of Freshman year and becoming Miss Sophomore, it made me want to go on and do something bigger and better. I wanted to reach the young women in my community and I saw that being Miss Fort Valley would allow me that outlet to reach more and more girls, not just the girls that Candice knows but on a broader spectrum.
RB: What made you choose an HBCU?
Candice Howard: As a senior in high school, I decided to attend an HBCU because I had a burning desire to become more attuned of my culture. I wanted to have more of an understanding of where I come from. I wanted to be the manifestation of what the generations of our ancestors stood for before us.
RB: Tell us about your campaign, what was your platform? How’d you go about securing votes?
Candice Howard: My campaign was based upon the platform of because you’re WORTH it. WORTH is an acronym for: We Own the Right To Higher. Higher values, higher morals, and higher standards. This was my avenue of spreading empowerment to various women across the campus of FVSU in a shortened time span to build awareness for my campaign as Miss FVSU. To secure votes, I was genuine. In that, I believe my peers appreciated working with someone who was not being “fake” to get their votes. I came to them and learned who they are. I conversed with them about the university and issues that we needed to face.
RB: How’d you feel when the results came in and it was announced that you’d won the opportunity to serve as the 78th Miss Fort Valley State University?
Candice Howard: I was at a complete loss for words. My dream of three years had finally come true. I instantly begin to flashback to the moment when I was just a little girl, dreaming to one day be a princess and now I had just become a Queen. It was a feeling of joy that I had never experienced and a sigh of relief that all of my hard work had all payed off.
RB: I’ve read the FVSU SGA Constitution many times within the past few months. I noticed that the positions of Mr. and Miss FVSU were listed in it. There are some tight standards that you have to live up to and clear set responsibilities that are laid out and outlined. In your view, what are your responsibilities as a campus queen?
Candice Howard: I’m always a representation of the university and the students, faculty, staff, administration and alumni. No matter if I’m in Waycross or Fort Valley, that doesn’t change. At the end of the day, I’m still Miss Fort Valley and I have to uphold the standards of the position. I was elected by the student body to be the face of our institution. But, the role is not limited to being the face of Fort Valley State University. Kalo and I are the liaison between the University and the Middle Georgia community. That means that we not only host and handle events on campus but we have to go out and speak to the Georgia community and beyond. We also have to host and sponsor events based on the platform that we campaigned on.
To me, being a role model and always embodying that poise and grace of what a lady and a queen should be is one of my major responsibilities. My goal is to inspire the next young lady to want to be a better woman. To me, that’s an everyday duty.
RB: What does being chosen as an EBONY Campus Queen mean to you and the school you represent at large?
Candice Howard: Being chosen as an EBONY Campus Queen means being able to extend my platform to a broader audience. I have the possibility of reaching hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people. Also, I’d be able to promote collegiate education and its importance by showing the opportunities it brings.
RB: If you were chosen to be one of the ten EBONY Campus Queens, how would that aid you in your mission of women empowerment? How would you use your elongated platform and elevated position to service your university?
Candice Howard: You must begin with home first. I would use my newly elevated platform to serve my university by reaching out to the young women on my campus through professional mentoring and personal guidance. Again, It would allow me to be an outlet to empower women as well as networking with more women who have the same goals and mindset that I do.
RB: Where can we find you and, most importantly, how can we vote for you?
Candice Howard: You can follow me on Instagram and Twitter @cherish_candyy. My name on Facebook is Candice Howard. You can vote three times every day until January 15th 2017 at 11:59 PM here —-> http://bit.ly/2gDKQxF. All votes count and, even if you aren’t a student, you can still vote! Thank you in advance for your support!
Don’t forget to cast you vote for her at this link! —> http://bit.ly/2gDKQxF
PUBLIC NOTE: The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the view of the Urban Intellectuals, affiliates or partners.