College is the breeding ground for leaders. To be successful in a collegiate environment, you have to stand tall and create your own lane. If not, you run the risk of losing yourself. It’s easy to lose focus in college. Stress from schoolwork and being on your own for the first time in your life can break you. You fight for a way to cope. You try your best to find a way to escape. Drugs, relationships and parties start to become attractive. Your faith starts to deteriorate.
Student leaders on college campuses are the beacons of light. We provide our peers a better way. We inspire and encourage them. We inform them on ways they can get involved on campus. As a student leader at my HBCU, I find myself often wondering what the atmosphere is like at other schools. How important are student leaders on other campuses? How much power do they hold? Is being in a Divine 9 Greek Organization as important as it is on my campus? What are the issues do they face?
My questions first led me to Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida. I’m a huge fan of FAMU! My closet friend from my HBCU All-Star cohort Imani goes to FAMU! So, I asked her if she could connect me with anyone from FAMU’s Student Government Association. Since it’s the middle of their homecoming week, I thought it wouldn’t be possible. Minutes later, however, Imani got me in contact with FAMU’s Chief of Staff Denver Smith.
Although I haven’t met Denver in person at the time of this article, she seems like an amazing young woman! She loves her HBCU and takes her position as Chief of Staff for the Student Government Association seriously! Get to know Miss Denver Smith below!
Randall: Thank you so much for doing this interview! Introduce yourself to the readers!
Denver Smith: Greetings to all Kings and Queens who are taking their time to read this article! I am Denver Smith, a 3rd year Pre-Physical Therapy scholar from Prince George’s County, Maryland. I currently serve as the Student Government Association, Chief of Staff at Florida A&M University. I plan on attaining my Doctorate in Physical Therapy, and becoming a licensed Physical Therapist within the next few years.
Randall: You currently serve as SGA Chief of Staff at Florida A&M University. What are your duties?
Denver Smith: Per Student Body statues, my duties are to serve in the President’s Cabinet, coordinate all Executive Branch activities, meetings, etc., and facilitate tri-branch communication throughout SGA. Although these are three simple duties, they require me to micromanage a lot behind the scenes.
Randall: Did you always want to be a part of SGA?
Denver Smith: In high school, I was Class President and highly involved in SGA as well as National Honors Society. Coming to FAMU, I never had a plan to be involved in SGA. I was a student-athlete and I am currently a STEM major, so I never really thought to immediately join SGA due to lack of time.
Randall: How did you get involved in SGA?
Denver Smith: My friend, Devin Harrison who is also the re-elected Vice President, asked me to serve as his Executive Assistant. Prior to that, I helped to lead a protest on campus, which provoked students to demand that their rights at the university be honored and respected. I’ve always been somewhat of an activist for many different topics that are deemed controversial in today’s society. Also, I genuinely care about the success of every person I encounter. Therefore, I saw SGA as an opportunity to serve on a larger platform, setting my personal agenda aside to help others.
Randall: Students at HBCU’s often complain that their Student Government Associations officers aren’t visible. However, I’ve noticed that most student leaders at FAMU have a large and active social media following. How visible are you at FAMU?
Denver Smith: My position at FAMU requires me to be visible and I love it. At FAMU, student leaders have a large following because on an everyday basis, we engage and connect with the student body.
Randall: How much of a resource is social media to your position as an accredited student leader?
Denver Smith: Originally, I was against posting specific items on my social media. I never felt like posting events, or accolades were necessarily for me. I always felt as though they were for everyone else to see, which was never a care of mine, until I realized how much it mattered to other people. My social media shows how I am a hardworking servant to my University, while still being a normal student.
Randall: FAMU hosts North Carolina A&T for the homecoming game this year. This past weekend NCAT held their homecoming. They brand it as the “Greatest Homecoming on Earth”. Sell your homecoming lineup to the audience because I know FAMU has to be lit!
Denver Smith: FAMU homecoming does NOT need to be sold to anyone! Just the title of our university sells itself….LOL
Randall: What’s next in store for you?
Denver Smith: I honestly don’t know exactly what’s next besides finishing this semester with a 4.0 and God is going to make sure it happens!
Randall: Where can we find you?
Denver Smith: My Instagram and Twitter are @D3nvur. 😊
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.