By: Ryan Jordan'16
As homecoming approaches and alumni travel from near and far to come back to their "Home by the Sea," this issue of the Student Connection takes a look back on former Student Government Association (SGA) presidents. The elected position of SGA president is for those HU student's that strive to make an impact on campus as well as in the Hampton community. Here is a spotlight on former SGA presidents and where they are now.
SGA President 2013-2014
Love was quick to assert that he was the 69th SGA president of Hampton University. While in office, he focused on several initiatives that would secure him recognition as a successful president. During his term he "revamped homecoming" by reintroducing the traditional bonfire during homecoming week. Love also focused on improving student life, he made progress on campus by ensuring accessible Wi-Fi in residence halls, improving available parking, and taking strides in offering more food options within the dining halls. Love strived to make a lasting impression; he achieved this by initiating collaborative efforts of several organizations on campus by being involved in the local community surrounding the campus. During his term as SGA president, he helped raise $5,000-10,000 for charities and local community organizations.
What is Love doing now? You may have seen him on campus. He now serves as the Assistant Director for Young Alumni in the Office of Alumni Affairs here on campus. When Hampton called to offer him the position, he proclaimed that he could not turn down his alma mater and he is happy to be back on campus. His position as assistant director of young alumni is primarily to raise money for Hampton University scholarships funds and manage social media accounts to showcase what alumni are currently doing. He emphasized that the more alumni give back and help grow the university, the more valuable the name "Hampton University" on a degree becomes.
"Get involved, take leadership positions, be involved outside campus, get involved in the local community," said Love when asked what advice he would give current HU students. "I will fight with vigor, and strive daily to raise funds for future generations to come. What can you do to build up your alma mater? What are you doing to protect the brand? Give back to your alma mater. Invest in your university as you invest in yourself."
Love is a Class of 2014 graduate, with a BA in Political Science.
SGA President 2008-2009
One of the very few SGA Presidents over the years, Kayla Platt had an interesting journey into the position. Before being voted SGA president, Platt served as interim president in the 2007-2008 school year. She also served as SGA Vice President, before taking the role of SGA President during her junior year at Hampton.
"I never ran for anything before," said Platt. "I took a chance and it was the best decision I ever made."
During her official term, Platt ensured the completion of presidential duties. She stayed on top of student issues and concerns across campus. Her affiliates made sure to continue their monthly meetings with President Harvey to make sure students' voices were heard around campus. She also mentioned that during her time as president they completed a lot of community service outreach.
Platt was even a part of the infamous "Insomnia" party that used to be hosted in the Student Center every year. The party lasted from 8pm to 2am and was very popular on campus. The party got so popular that people began to counterfeit tickets to gain entry, and allegedly a window of the Student Center was broken by people trying to get in. Platt also helped plan a lot of the homecoming events while she was in office.
Platt believes that the "best advice is to step outside your comfort zone."
She is now working as a speech therapist in California for the LA Unified School District. She attributes her leadership and interdisciplinary skills to HU.
"Hampton taught me how to work with team but also to be a leader and stand up and be heard," Platt said when asked about how Hampton has influenced her success in her career.
Platt was in the Class of 2010 and received a BA in Communicative Sciences and Disorders.
2002-2003 and 2003-2004
Toombs focused on three broad areas to improve during his two terms as acting SGA president here on campus which were administrative partnerships, external partnerships, and student organizational development. To improve administrative partnerships, Toombs and his team compiled a comprehensive campus facilities report and maintenance request log which was designed to aid the university in assessment of campus buildings. One staple project that was completed through this initiative was installing air conditioning in Ogden Hall. Thank you Mr. Toombs!
Externally, he focused on partnering with peer institutions to engage policymakers on the national level. Sponsored by both Hampton and Howard University's Student Government Associations, groups of students went to rally, march, and protest on the eve of oral arguments in a landmark Supreme Court case. Some HU students even slept on the steps of the Supreme Court and were joined by other activists as well. Here on campus, Toombs initiated the Council of Presidents, which brought the heads of every organization on campus together to eliminate redundancy and conserve resources by encouraging co-sponsorship of quality programs by organizations with overlapping interests.
"Hampton is a very special place," Toombs said. "I was embraced by professors that were interested in helping me harness my talents, and they prepared me well for the rigors of law school. I am grateful for the fertile ground that Hampton gave me to find my voice as an advocate and champion the causes that animate my passions today."
Toombs graduated from Yale Law School and Yale Divinity School in 2008, and is now bridging his legal and ministerial training through community lawyering and facilitating partnerships between church officials, community groups, and disenfranchised populations.
Toombs receiving his graduate degree from Hampton while his sister graduates with BA.
Toombs encourages current Hampton students to, "be faithful, be courageous, and be a student." He went on to say that injustice can only be cured when "the faith in your hearts intersects with the works of your hands", and that "the most successful Hamptonians are able to do that because they put in the necessary work academically and take advantage of the opportunity to develop a greater sense of who they are and what roles they want to play in the world."
Toombs was a 2004 graduate of Hampton University with a BA in Political Science.