October 5, 2011 – Bryant Collier lights up every room he enters. He has a politician’s charm; but the psychology student’s genuineness is authentic. On any given day after class, the Fort Valley State University junior is spotted darting from one end of campus to another, tending to important matters.
The Macon, Ga. native wears many hats as a student leader; executive assistant to the Student Government Association president and vice president; assistant to the adviser of Mr. and Miss FVSU; and vice president of FVSU’s Black Men with Initiative.
He’s comfortable spouting words of wisdom in the hallways or on the yard to students and employees. In this week’s “Just Do You” column, Marketing and Communications’ intern, Chelsea Mathis, sits down with her long-time friend and classmate for a conversation about the significance of mentoring and the influence FVSU had in molding him into an emerging leader.
Why did you decide to attend FVSU?
I can’t say I chose FVSU, it was more like FVSU was chosen for me. I’ve developed a passion for the university.
Now, what do you love about the institution?
What I love about Fort Valley State University would have to be the name and what it stands for. Fort Valley is so symbolic because scientists have found that the richest soil that exists is in a valley. There’s so much potential within this institution and if you take the time to dig you’ll strike oil.
What are your hobbies outside of FVSU?
Outside of FVSU, I’m a mentor but I’m also a preacher. I’ve been in ministry for a [number] of years now. I also play [the] piano. I am affiliated with the NAACP and other community service organizations as well.
What motivated you to become a leader?
Talking with Dr. Sewell. He presented me with options. He told me that I can make a difference, develop and cultivate what’s around me. From that moment, I decided that if I’m going to be here for four years I’m going to make a difference.
Who are some of the people at FVSU that influenced you?
Oh, wow! Since I’ve been here, Dr. Said L. Sewell, Mr. Cesquinn Curtis, Mr. Sammy Haynes and Dr. Daniel K. Wims motivated me. I’m trying to [run] through everyone who put a finger on my life. Ms. [Wilmetta] Jackson, from the library, who is a hidden secret at FVSU. Dr. and Mrs. Rivers have played a big role in my development.
How have you changed since your freshman year?
I’m not as naive. One thing college life will do is teach you not to believe everything you do. My philospohy professor taught us to challenge everything—everything we read, everything we’re taught, even our own ideas. That’s what I’ve been doing and because of this I’ve matured.
What advice would you give the freshman class?
The advice I can give to the freshman class is something I share with my menteesevery year. “You are great no matter if you were raised in a rich community or a poor community. You have the potential to be greater. The question is, will you listen, accept, then follow up on what you’ve heard. It’s an image you have to build for yourself.” My freshman year, I wore a suit and tie everyday until November. Yes, I sweat rivers of water, but the opportunities I have been given because of that image were worth it.
“Just Do You” is a periodic column that features profiles of FVSU staff, faculty and students. If you’d like to recommend the next JDY feature, contact Vickie Oldham at (478) 825-6319 or firstname.lastname@example.org.