SAU’s Students Attend 2012 Congressional Black Caucus UFuture Summit

September 10, 2012

Written by student contributor- Princess Goodridge, New York native and Senior in Communications at SAU- Goodridge is a Presidential Scholar, Fox Ailes Scholarship Recipient and recently returned from studying abroad in China and Morocco.

Saint Augustine's University was one of several Historically Black Colleges/Universities selected to participate in the 2012 Congressional Black Caucus Institute UFuture Summit held at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, N.C., September 3-4. Saint Augustine’s University selected 10 students to attend the summit:

Kayla Cohen- Sophomore in Political Science from Durham, N.C.

Chelsea Aladekoba-Junior in Political Science from Silver Springs, M.D.

John Newman- Senior in Psychology from Richmond, V.A.

Brandon Gwaltney-Junior in Criminal Justice from Baltimore, M.D.

Keianna Evans- Senior in Sociology from Fayetteville, N.C,

Lakeisha Ford- Junior in Sociology from Madison Heights, VA.

Tanisha Perry- Senior in Public Health from Warrenton, N.C.

Malcolm Richbourg- Senior in Public Health from Thomasville, N.C.

Princess Goodridge- Senior in Journalism/Mass Communications from Brooklyn, N.Y.

Ashley Nelson- Junior in Sociology from Brooklyn, N.Y.

The forum allowed students to ask Congress members and other elected officials questions as they pertain to their present and future. The cyber-interactive summit also allowed students to tweet, email and upload video questions for the government officials. Amongst local and nation elected officials, and business leaders, there were also various entertainers in attendance, such as: Alfre Woodard, Hill Harper and Nicole Ari Parker.

Financial debit and job opportunities were the main topics of discussion during the forum. Tony Hadley, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and Public Policy stressed the “3 steps to building personal credit” for students preparing to graduate.

“Business vendors look at credit history to see if graduating students have credit worthiness,” stated Hadley. “There are things you can do now to make sure you get the most affordable and fair credit score in the market.”

Hadley went on to offer three steps to building personal credit:

• Pay your bills on time, every time! Gym memberships, utilities, rental and etc. are the start of

credit and if you pay your bills late, it can and will show on your credit history.

• Build a budget: ONLY take out the EXACT amount of loans needed for financial aid while in school.

If so, it will lessen the financial burden post graduation. Work with financial aid officers ensuring you have the right payment schedule.

• Get Active in Credit: apply for a credit card, make timely payments and build your credit.

Closing the UFuture Summit was actor, author and activist, Hill Harper. Harper encouraged students to continue voicing their opinions and presenting solutions via social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

For many Saint Augustine's University students the UFuture Summit was their first opportunity to participate in a governmental forum, in which they got to voice their opinions and concerns to elected officials.

“My favorite memory from the Summit was when we read the letter that Michelle Obama took the time to write to college students,” – stated Keianna Evans, Saint Augustine's University senior.

Pictured: Left to right: Zaphon Wilson-SAU faculty member, Ashley Nelson, Keianna Evans, Lakeisha Ford, Chelsea Aladekoba, Princess Goodridge, Tanisha Perry, Kayla Cohen and Elizabeth Fournier-SAU faculty member. Back row: Malcolm Richbourg, John Newman and Brandon Gwaltney.