Wednesday, August 27, 2008

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Financial aid maze, part II

The economy is forcing parents of college students to find ways to pay for tuition, books and housing. FVSU’s marketing and communications office scans Web sites daily looking for information to help our students and their parents. Shonda Lewis came across an ABC news online story about scholarship competitions which fund awards for women and students of color, but aren’t well publicized. Visit and Apparently, the founders of the site don’t advertise. Information about it is traveling by word-of-mouth. A free scholarship search site will be launched January, 2009. Lewis is a member of She received an email about scholarships for working moms. HBCU Connect partners with to offer information.

Students and parents should also visit According the ABC story, the site is the source of $16,000 in scholarships monthly. Through corporate sponsorships, the founders hope to increase that amount to $150,000 a month. Students who have tutoring skills can actually make extra money at another site, The company pays students to help other students with homework. Check our blog for other tidbits of information we receive.

The mother who posted a response to yesterday’s blog about financial aid should contact Dr. Canter Brown at for assistance.

--Vickie Oldham is the director of Marketing and Communications at Fort Valley State University

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Last-minute applications and financial aid heroics

An Atlanta Journal Constitution reporter called me for assistance in identifying students and parents for a story about “drop offs” - students brought to campus to register just before fall semester begins without securing housing, financial aid, or taking any of the necessary steps to begin school on the right foot. For a moment, I wanted no part of this assignment, but as I honed in on the premise, I saw an opportunity to tell the real story behind what HBCUs like FVSU do to usher students into college.

FVSU meets a need that major institutions don’t – one that they don’t have patience to deliver: personal, individualized service to first-generation college students trying to navigate the maze of the financial aid process, most times without the help of parents. This week I’ve seen the patience and true character of the financial aid staff and FVSU family as they walked students from one office to the next, helping them complete FAFSA forms and loan applications.

I talked to freshman Sekema Tannahill, who shared her story. Admittedly she missed the deadlines for filing paperwork and arrived on campus a week before the start of school. Her mother walked the student through the process the first semester but refused to do it the second time around, after she didn’t make acceptable grades.

For every student who dragged his or her feet in submitting verification forms, FAFSAs and the required tax documents from parents, others filed on time. However in some cases, parents didn’t qualify for loans or couldn’t pick up the slack where financial aid left off. Anticipating the money gap, FVSU’s Office of External Affairs, directed by the president, mailed 12,000 letters to alumni asking for donations to help students pay tuition, living expenses and books.

I received a call from a parent trying to reach the financial aid office. Four people live in the household on a meager sum. The mother was making sure she signed all the paperwork to get financial aid for her son, who is now on campus. Attending college is his one-way ticket out of the cycle of poverty.

Scholarship funds from community groups and alumni are trickling in. Flint Energies Foundation gave $5,000. The Peach County Development Authority wrote a check for $8,000. Zellner’s Chapel, a small, under-50-member church located across from the campus’s main entrance donated $24,000 to help students like this.

From showing students how to properly fill out forms and offering advice about classes to digging, scratching, fighting and finagling for scholarship funds, I am amazed at the miracles worked every day on this campus to get students into school. I have a renewed appreciation for FVSU as it seeks to fulfill its mission.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution decided not to go ahead with the story. Even so, I’m glad the reporter asked for my help. I got the chance to step away from the hustle and bustle of my office to witness firsthand the nurturing work that occurs in Wildcat Country. Not every student our counselors reach out to help can cut it in college, but for every one who does, God bless ‘em - the effort is well worth it.

Vickie Oldham is Director of Marketing & Communications at Fort Valley State University.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Guest blogger: What's your net worth?

T. Harv Eker, author of "Secrets of the Millionaire Mind," explains that wealthy people understand that net worth is the true measure of wealth, not working income. Four areas determine net worth: income, savings, investments, and simplification.
Income can be classified as working or passive. Working income involves your own time and sweat; passive income is made without you physically working: for example, rental property income. Income enables us to address the other three net worth factors.
Once money is made, we can then save it. Remember, what you keep is more important than what you make.
“Once you’ve begun saving a decent portion of your income, then you can move to the next stage and make your money grow through investing,” says Eker. He explains that wealthy people take the time to educate themselves about investing and investments, while poor-minded people do the opposite.
Simplification is about living below your means. This increases your savings, which then increase the amount for investing.
Think of the four factors of net worth as four tires on a car.
“Poor and most middle-class people play the money game on one wheel only. They believe that the only way to get rich is to earn a lot of money. They don’t understand Parkinson’s Law, which states, ‘Expenses will always rise in direct proportion to income,’” says Eker.
Income alone will never produce wealth. By tracking your net worth, you will increase your wealth.
So how do you calculate your net worth?
“List all your assets, then list all your liabilities—all the money you owe, including credit card debt and mortgages. Your net worth is your total assets minus your total liabilities,” says Barbara O’Neill, PhD, CFP, and author of Saving on a Shoestring: How to Cut Expenses, Reduce Debt, Stash More Cash.
A net worth statement, listing your assets and liabilities, serves as a prepared financial statement. For instance, it is a good estimate of available emergency money when applying for a loan. Check your net worth every quarter.
“Where attention goes, energy flows, and results show,” says Eker.

--Edward Morrow is a senior business major at Fort Valley State University

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Saggy pants and the law

My girl friends and I were at lunch the other day and we were discussing the new law that was passed by the mayor and the Warner Robins City Council on Tuesday. The law says thos who wear sagging pants are guilty of indecent exposure. Punishment is no more than $500 and confinement in a county jail for up to 6 months. Sagging pants have been banned from schools, malls, restaurants and now streets. City councilman John Williams said: “They are using those sagging pants to shoplift!” Some people may agree that saggy pants are indecent exposure, others object and feel targeted, specifically the black community.
FVSU President Larry Rivers has voiced his opinion on the matter, and you can hear it on Georgia Public Radio. The Telegraph is running an editorial on the law today.
What do you think? Click on "comments" below to share your opinion. Keep it clean, no name-calling.

--Apple Jones works for the Office of Marketing and Communications at Fort Valley State University

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A student's perspective: Freshman induction

On the evening of the New Wildcat Induction Ceremony, I vividly remember changing outfits at least three times. Upon entering the doors of the HPE Complex, I realized that I was not the only freshman excited about the evening’s events. Once I acquired my seat, I began to feel sorry for the influx of students who arrived later than I, and were instructed to take a seat in the bleachers. However, true to Fort Valley form, the administration and Student Ambassadors came together to get more seats and tables, so that all the students and families could have a place to sit and partake in their meals.
While listening to the various speakers, seeing the enthusiasm of the upperclassmen and the unity of my fellow freshmen, something came over me, and I fell in mad love with the Fort Valley State University. The keynote speaker, Mr. Keith Brown, caught my attention by being clothed in a blue robe and pacing about the floor of the gym during his introduction. Almost simultaneously, he sparked my laughter and woke me up with his dance/rap number to the beat of "Everyday I’m Hustlin’" by rapper Rick Ross. His deep and wise insight, paired with attention grabbing, youth-oriented delivery, vehemently fought his case as perhaps the greatest motivational speaker I have ever encountered. Also, as a minister, I found it very touching that his ending number would be "Never Would Have Made It" by gospel powerhouse Marvin Sapp. Seeing the reaction of my fellow classmates, I was comforted by the thought that I was not alone in my love for and gratitude toward the Lord.
All points considered—negative and positive—I thoroughly enjoyed myself on the evening of the New Wildcat Induction Ceremony. I thank the Lord Almighty for affording me the opportunity to be a member of the Fort Valley State University family, and I look forward to attending many more programs hosted by my school.
There truly is no place like the Valley.

--Dominique Vidal Nichols is a Presidential Scholar at Fort Valley State University. Presidential scholarships are automatically awarded to qualified applicants to the school.

Monday, August 18, 2008

This week's events

It's the first day of classes. So here are the "extras" on FVSU's campus this week:

August 18: 5 p.m. Orientation for Students Enrolled in an Online Course, Blanchet CTM Auditorium
August 19: 11 a.m. Memorial service for Dr. Kenneth Chatman, longtime Fort Valley State University administrator, in the C.W. Pettigrew Center auditorium.
August 21: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Welcome to the Valley business expo for students. Get to know the businesses in the area, their opportunities for internships and how to get involved with the Fort Valley community.
August 21: Wildcat Battalion Welcome Back picnic
August 23: Wildcat football. First game of the season, against Valdosta State, in Valdosta.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Best representations

Meet Miss FVSU, Shanoria Morgan, and Mr. FVSU, Alexander Little. These two have been amazing ambassadors for thier beloved school this week, and before.
The royals were part of FVSU's recruitment efforts, talking to potential student, the media, and anyone who would listen. They believe in their school, which is possibly the best reference we can offer.
So watch for them on campus. Listen for them on the radio. And hear what they have to say. FVSU is the place to be and they are shouting the message from the roof tops.
And if you're looking to see what kind of students FVSU produces, take a good look at these two. Dedicated, polished and articulate, they are training those who are coming in after them.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Welcome, Wildcats

There’s something special about the fall semester at Fort Valley State University, especially Wildcat Welcome Week. Orientation activities are held for freshmen the week before the upper classmen arrive. On Sunday, the FVSU family opened its arms wide to help the pride of new Wildcats. The new students met their surrogate family - student ambassadors and representatives in housing, financial aid, admissions, plant operations and volunteers who shuttled them in golf carts and buses to help with their move. It’s such a nice touch. My grandmother and sister helped me move into the dorms at UF many moons ago. I can’t remember ever seeing administrators help anyone lift a box.

When I arrived at the orientation’s location at the HPE Complex, the parking lot was packed with cars and a huge blue and gold tent. At noon, the District 2 FVSU Alumni Association, led by the Warner Robins chapter, grilled and served hot dogs, hamburgers and drinks to a thousand students and their families for free. When I say families, I mean not only immediate family – but aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins.

Waves of campus guests poured out of the gym after the convocation ceremony that featured speeches by Miss FVSU, Mr. FVSU, the Student Government Association President and President Larry E. Rivers. The Blue Machine Marching Band and Dancing Dolls added high energy to an already charged atmosphere. Instinctively, feeling my journalism mojo kick in, I pulled out a notepad to interview parents. I couldn’t help myself. Every parent I met gave the president’s speech a thumbs up.

I interviewed several students and mused about the months and months of work the entire FVSU family spent beating the bushes to recruit them. Georgia is a competitive market in higher education. We’re in a battle to win and retain every student interested in matriculating here.

For the marketing department’s part, we embraced a “by any means necessary” approach to selling the school to potential students. We designed print and billboard ads, placed them in publications; wrote radio and tv spots and loads of press releases, then distributed these to the media throughout the state. We helped produce editorials in daily newspapers and produced a television show called the Wildcat Report. Free time was booked on any public access station that agreed to air the show. Then there were endless calls made to book interviews on tv and radio stations throughout Georgia to discuss our victories and challenges. We opened an account on Facebook and MySpace for Dr. Rivers to give students more access to the president and placed video blogs on You Tube.

So far, our efforts are paying off. As students pour in this week to register, I’m counting each one and celebrating. FVSU’s enrollment increase isn’t one department’s accomplishment. It’s a unified, collaborative effort that the entire FVSU family can be proud of.
--Vickie Oldham is the Director of Marketing and Communications at Fort Valley State University

Monday, August 11, 2008

please, thank you and the lost art of courtesy

I am always pleased when I hear my child use the words "please" and "thank you." And I am always pleasantly surprised when I hear someone else using common courtesy. Because in our fast-paced world, I wonder sometimes if simple human courtesy is getting lost.
I'm always careful to be especially courteous to people who are in customer-service jobs. Waiters and waitresses, fast-food establishment employees, retail clerks, bank tellers and receptionists. They encounter hundreds of people a day, and they have a job I don't think I could do.
This week, we are welcoming the new freshman class on campus. It is my hope that their encounters are pleasant and successful; that FVSU employees bend over backwards to meet their needs and answer their questions. And if we encounter someone having a bad day, that we will remember the difference courtesy can make. I have learned, if nothing else, that if I can't help someone myself, that being nice and going the extra step of directing them to someone who can help leaves a very positive impression. They don't always remember that I couldn't help, but they do remember that I was kind and courteous.

--Misty Cline works for the Office of Marketing and Communications at Fort Valley State University

Friday, August 8, 2008

Welcoming new freshmen

Having freshmen arrive a week early and take part in a host of activities designed to acclimate them to college life just seems smart. After all, for most this will be the first time they stretch their wings away from momma's protective eye. So here at FVSU, we bring them in, help them get to know their classmates, teach them to take care of themselves and each other. Here's an idea of their agenda:
Sunday, August 10
6 a.m. :Early Bird Move-In, Wildcat Commons
8 a.m.: Check-In/Registration Residence Halls Open for New Students
HPE Complex
3 p.m. : The Official Wildcat Welcome Orientation, HPE Complex
5-7 p.m.: Dinner, Food Service Center
8:30 p.m.: New Scholars Orientation, Wildcat Commons Clubhouse

Monday, August 11 -Getting Connected with FVSU
7 p.m. : New Student Induction Ceremony, HPE Complex
Cost: $10 for non students
7 – 8 a.m.: Breakfast, Food Service Center
3:30 – 4:00 p.m.: Student Ambassador Session
7 p.m.: Freshman Induction Banquet, HPE Complex
Cost non-students: $10

Tuesday, August 12 - Getting Connected with Resources to Success
7 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.: Breakfast, Food Service Center
9 a.m. : Placement Testing
4:30 – 7p.m.: Dinner, Food Service Center
7 p.m.: Magician, Woodward Gymnasium
8 p.m.: Wildcats to Wally World (shuttle bus to Wal-Mart), Health and P.E. Complex

Wednesday, August 13 - Wildcat Relationships Day
7 – 8:30 a.m.: Breakfast, Food Service Center
9 a.m.: New Student Registration, Health and Physical Education Complex
2:15 – 3:30 p.m.: Mr. FVSU & Miss FVSU Heart to Heart, C.W. Pettigrew Center & Founders Halls
4-7 p.m.: Dinner, Food Service Center
6:15 p.m.: Freshman Leadership: Being a Freshman Class Officer
7 p.m.: AKA Mentor Family Fellowship Program, Pettigrew Center Auditorium
9 p.m. – midnight: The First Freshman Jam, George N. Woodward Gymnasium

Thursday, August 14 - Wildcat Health and Wellness Day
7 a.m.: Breakfast, Food Service Center
9 a.m. – 7 p.m.: New Student Registration, HPE Complex
Noon – 2 p.m.: Lunch, Food Service Center
3:30 p.m.: Student Ambassador Session III
4:30 – 7 p.m.: Dinner, Food Service Center
7 p.m.: Cancer Awareness and Facts, Woodward Gymnasium

Friday, August 15
7 – 8:30 a.m.: Breakfast, Food Service Center
9 a.m.: Placement Testing, Horace Mann Building
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.: Student Ambassador Sessions
7 p.m.: Wildcat Luau, Wildcat Commons Courtyard

Saturday, August 16
10:30 – noon: Brunch, Food Service Center
Trip to Macon Mall, HPE Complex
7 p.m.: Blue Fever Talent Display, George N. Woodward Gymnasium

all events are tentative and subject to change

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Judicial Committee Mythbusters

“The students are coming, the students are coming…”and just as frantically as Paul Revere traveled on his midnight ride many years ago, so are we the faculty, staff and administration of Fort Valley State University preparing for an arrival. While our students' arrival will be met with a much friendlier attitude that that of the Americans meeting the British in Revere's day, there are, nonetheless, preparations to be made.

As part of my efforts to aid the students that are coming our way, I would like to discuss a topic that many students skim over or tune out during Freshman Orientation; the function of the Judicial Committee here at FVSU. Hopefully students will read through our blog when they get settled here and be introduced to how this committee functions and maybe even have a few myths dispelled along the way.

The Judicial Committee operates under the supervision and guidance of the Vice-President for Student Affairs, Dr. Terrence Smith. The members of the committee are chosen to serve a one-year term and approved by our President, Dr. Larry Rivers. The committee consists of two Co-Chairpersons and 10 to 12 members. The committee hears cases twice a month; each Co-chair presides once monthly over cases that range from fighting to electronic harassment to partying and everything in between and may number anywhere from five to sixteen cases in each session.

So how does one end up in front of the committee (by now you should be hearing strains of the theme music from the Godfather in your head)? The way that a student ends up in Judicial is quite simple: they break rules, ignore regulations and commit infractions against the university, another student, or a faculty, staff or member of the administration. This generally involves campus security, or as in some cases recently, the Fort Valley Police Department.

Now let’s dispel the first myth that you may have heard: “Campus security are not real cops, they can’t do anything.” Folks this is false and dangerous myth. The security at FVSU is made up of state-mandated law enforcement officers who are trained to function in the same manner and with the same legal rights as those protecting our cities and highways. They are “real” cops and they CAN and WILL do something if they see you misbehaving.

Now for the second myth: "If I go before the judicial committee, it ain’t that big of a deal.” Wrong again. If you appear before judicial, you will be asked how you plead and your case will be heard. You will be allowed to present witnesses, your mother, father or anyone else can come sit in the courtroom with you. But you will ultimately decide your own fate by your behavior. The judicial committee will consider all evidence and then render a judgment of guilty or innocent. If the judgment is innocent, you will receive a letter to that effect and that is the end of the story. However, receive a guilty verdict and the committee will also decide on your punishment, based on the seriousness of the infraction. The committee then sends a recommendation to the Vice President of Student Affairs and, with his approval (he seldom disapproves committee recommendations), a letter will be sent to you.

The ball is now in your court and so comes Myth # 3. “The sanctions imposed by the judicial committee ain’t nothing to worry about; just pay a fine.” Wrong again. If you receive fines, community service or other sanctions such as probation or expulsion and fail to complete the terms in the manner set forth by the committee, a hold will be put on your grades, your financial aid and the ability to register or pre-register for classes for the next term. The only way to get these holds off is to complete the terms of your hearing, and no, you cannot work off 100 hours of community service two weeks before registration.

And finally perhaps the biggest myth of all, “Drugs and alcohol are no big deal at FVSU, it is a PARTY SCHOOL, and besides if I get caught, my parents lawyer will get me off." Oops,wrong again. FVSU has a ZERO TOLERANCE policy against drugs, alcohol and weapons regardless of who brings it on campus. If you are caught with drugs or alcohol in your room, your car or on your person, you most probably are going to face EXPULSION. Oh and by the way, because this is a university judicial committee, your parents' lawyer has absolutely no jurisdiction here. He can come and hold your hand or confer with you on what to say, but he or she is not going to argue your case or protect you.

Finally and most important, when you are tempted to stray off the path because of temptations, envision you mother sitting behind you in the hearing, tears streaking down her face as she frets over the day missed from work to come and support you, while you sit in front row center trying to explain why it was a good idea to get down and dirty with security over the drugs that you didn’t have that fell out of your pocket. My heart goes out to each and every parent that I meet in this manner; it is embarrassing for them, it is awkward for me and the rest of the committee and as soon as you leave the hearing, as the old saying goes, “ain't nobody going to be happy if Mamma ain’t happy..."

--Oreta Samples is the lead veterinary technician for the Department of Veterinary Science at Fort Valley State Univeristy

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The 2008-2009 school year is fast approaching here in the Valley and with it come droves of new freshman students who are anxious to experience college life away from home and all which that life entails. Speaking for the entire Fort Valley State University Family of faculty, staff and administrators, I want to say “Welcome, we are glad you are here.” This university offers a variety of opportunities for you to learn, have fun and grow into the productive adults that we are so proud to call our own.

As you begin your educational journey, there are many opportunities and yet there are some pitfalls that you will want to avoid in order to make the most of your experiences. First and foremost, your goal and the reason that your parents have entrusted you to Fort Valley State University is to get an education; got it? Good, now having said that, this entails going to class every day from the first day to the last, meaning that on August 18th, you need to be sitting at the front of the room in the classroom where each and every one of your classes are held at the designated time they are to meet. I realize that there are only about eight to ten rows of desks in most classrooms, so when the front row fills up because you were a few minutes late getting there, go to the second row.

It is expected and encouraged that you are going to meet new friends and hopefully forge relationships that last a lifetime. Make sure that those relationships are healthy and good for you. As the Co-Chair of the Judicial Committee for Students here at FVSU, I am asking - no I am begging - you to make healthy choices. Just as young ladies who worry about their weight constantly are seen at the salad bar in the cafe while turning their noses up at pizza and French fries, I want you to likewise be seen in the company of students who, like yourself, are here to get educated. Therefore seek out like-minded individuals to study with and spend time with while walking away from (and yes even turning your nose up at) those individuals who would invite you into the world of alcohol, drugs and all-night parties. A good way to gauge whether or not the people you hang with are conductive to your educational pursuits is this: If you see campus security walking along the path towards you and either you or your companion feel the need to turn off and go the other way, YOU ARE NOT HANGING WITH A FRIEND !!!

The Judicial Committee sees far too many cases which take up an extraordinary amount of time to address the following: behavior because of drugs, behavior because of alcohol, behavior because of out-of-control associations. Notice all of these cases involve “behavior.” If your behavior is unacceptable, you will (sooner or later) end up in front of the judicial committee, crying and trying to justify your actions. And the judicial committee will fairly and impartially listen to your story and then decide what to do with you. So as you enter the new school year, strive to do well, have fun and above all…BEHAVE!

--Oreta Samples is the lead veterinary technician for the Department of Veterinary Scicences at Fort Valley State University

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Last call: vacations and such

With the recent reminder of the upcoming Faculty-Staff Institute, today marks the end of the lazy, hazy, down-right hot days of summer for most of us. Hopefully everyone has had a chance to do something fun that recharged them, both mentally and physically, for the upcoming school year. While summertime for people in academia (both students and instructors) is the prime time for vacations, Continuing Education opportunities and travel; it is oftentimes not the prime time for others who might like to accompany them on a jaunt to the South Pacific or just down the road to Disney World.

For many who work in the field of agriculture, spring and summer are the prime time for growing, followed up by a fall harvest (fat chance of fitting a romantic trip with your tractor-driving honey in at that time). No, just about the time that instructors are pulling out grade books and stocking up on writing utensils during the tax free weekend, the tractor stops grinding and the plants seemingly give permission for a few days of blissful, non-damaging neglect in order to “go away.” For those who are in retail, the return to school signals a brief respite for retailers before heading into 80-hour workweeks preparing for the Christmas rush, which seems to start earlier every year and doesn’t really end until after the first of the year when all the returns roll in. And for those without children and whose spouses fill the administrative job market, you have suffered through their good intentions of acquiescing to the last slot on the list in terms of requested vacation time in order for those with children to make the mad dash to Disney World before school starts.

So now, its time for Faculty Staff Institute and your spouse is looking at you with that far-away, get-me-the-heck-out-of-Dodge look. What to do?

For starters, take advantage of every opportunity that allows for rest and relaxation. The beginning of the school year always seems to be the most hectic time of the entire year in terms of organization and time management with classes beginning, new students needing direction and a never-ending amount of committee work to be done. Although it may seem a monumental task, planning ahead to literally “get outta Dodge” for the weekend is a guaranteed stress-buster if for no other reason than the change of scenery. With the wide availability of wireless internet connection in practically every hotel, motel and camping ground around, there is no reason that one cannot surf the 'net under a pine tree in a Georgia state park or on a beach next to the Holiday Inn®.

If you can’t off the top of your head think of the ultimate stress busting place that takes you away, think of your significant other. What are the hobbies and stress-busting activities that they never get to do? Fly fishing? Book a cabin for weekend on a fast-moving stream. Photography? Head on up to Calloway Gardens and watch em’ stalk butterflies through the fauna. Trust me, sometimes your most enjoyable times are spent when you give of yourself to others; it’s a win-win situation.

--Oreta Samples is the lead veterinary technician for the Department of Veterinary Science at Fort Valley State University

Monday, August 4, 2008

The class of when?

I dropped my child off for his first day of first grade this morning. I was fine, until I looked at the banners the school had hanging from the hallway ceilings. "Class of 2024," read the on on his hall.
Oh, my. Twelve years of grade school, then four years of college. 2024. All of a sudden that doesn't seem so far away.

--Misty Cline works in the Office of Marketing and Communications at Fort Valley State University.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Wildcat Commons Phase III

Images from this morning's ceremony, celebrating the two new Wildcat Commons buildings under construction.

The new dorms are visible in the background as shovels and hard hats wait for the ceremonial dirt toss.
Fort Valley State University officials and dignitaries from local and state government line up to break the ground.
A small gust of wind blew the dirt back on to some shovel-wielding officials.

Dr. Melody Carter officiated over the groundbreaking ceremony.
Miss FVSU, Shanoria Morgan, speaks with housing director Hosea Lewis after the ceremony.