FVSU Sip-N-Chat teaches students how to make an impression

September 26, 2012 – On Monday, women attending Fort Valley State University were treated to an annual empowerment conference where they were given advice that could give them an edge in the professional world. The thirteenth annual Sip-N-Chat, hosted by FVSU’s first lady, Betty Rivers, took place Sept. 24 in the C.W. Pettigrew Center.This year’s event, cosponsored by Dillard’s at River Crossing of Macon, drew a larger crowd than previous ones.


“As first lady of the university, I am excited to host these Sip-N-Chat forums,” said an effervescent Rivers. “This is your night ladies; these forums are for you. At the Sip-N-Chats, we present a wide array of topics to help women who matriculate to this university in their professional careers.”

The night began with a brief history lesson for the young women: a PowerPoint presentation featured FVSU’s most prominent first ladies. These FVSU presidential wives were pioneers who contributed positively to their local communities and the university’s overall growth. Role models featured included Florence J. Hunt, Julia A.W. Boyd andKatye M. Troup.


Afterward, spoken word artists took center stage during the 1895 Poet’s Studio. Jasmine Thomas, a mass communications sophomore read “A Black Girl’s Story,” a motivational piece that charged her fellow students to remain optimistic and rise above challenges to attain their destinies. Mr. FVSU 2012-2013, Andréa Brodie, also delivered an untitled, inspirational piece that extolled the individuality, grace and beauty of the university’s women.

Next, FVSU’s admissions counselor, Calandra Wright, delivered a speech encouraging young women to embrace their inner power. Wright began her address with the story of an anonymous girl.

“There was a young girl who wanted to go to college,” Wright said. “She asked her guidance counselor about schools, but her guidance counselor told her not to worry about going to college. Her counselor thought because the young girl didn’t wear the right clothes, her parents didn’t have a lot of money and she came from the wrong side of the tracks, she wouldn’t make it to college.”



Wright told the students that young girls needed to embrace their inner power, in spite of obstacles and whether or not others believed in you. The counselor encouraged the audience to be themselves and stay open to change. She also advised young women to smile and to feel good about themselves. The admissions counselor reminded girls to be thankful, maintain a positive attitude, learn from failure, to overcome guilt and worry, and think like a queen. At the end of her speech, she told students that the young girl mentioned in her speech didn’t listen to her guidance counselor. The student went on to college to become a television anchor, admissions counselor and teacher. Wright admitted that she was the young girl.


After Wright’s speech, Dillard’s manager Felicia West taught the guests lessons about using intimates to shape their bodies and acquire a proper foundation for their outfits. West displayed mannequins showing how measurements are conducted for intimates.


Later, models took the center stage for a two-part fashion show emceed by AleciaLivatt, FVSU’s interim development director.

In between fashion shows, and at the night’s conclusion, surprise drawings were held for Sip-N-Chat attendees.

Prizes included perfume, Estée Lauder makeup and a polka dot tote bag.



Christina D. Milton, writer
Marketing and Communications
(478) 822-7589, miltonc@fvsu.edu