Florida A&M University Student Body President Tonnette Graham has been selected as the first African-American chairwoman of the Florida Students Association (FSA). Tonnette, a graduate student, will also become the member of the Florida Board of Governors in her new position. Saturday morning, the FSA convened at the University of South Florida in Tampa to host its leadership elections for the upcoming academic year.
The Florida Student Association was formed in 1976 as a non-partisan statewide organization for students within the State University System of Florida. Within the Association, 12 student body presidents and their staffs work together to represent the interests of students from participating state universities.
For almost 40 years, the Florida Student Association has laid the foundation for each student government represented to provide unified student representation before the Florida Government. The association also holds monthly meetings in which student leaders can interact with their colleagues from member institutions.
With an 8-3 vote, newly elected Florida Student Association Chairwoman Graham is now granted a seat on the Florida Board of Governors, the governing board of all public universities in the state of Florida. She is the second FAMU student body president and the first African-American woman to be elected as Chair of the Florida Student Association.
“It feels surreal. I’m so humbled and thankful for the opportunity to be the voice for over 300,000 students within the state university system,” said Graham. ”I’m forever grateful to be able to exercise all that FAMU has invested in my leadership development within this powerful role.”
The FSA Board of Directors, comprised of the 12 student body presidents, is looking forward to all that Graham is prepared to do in her new position.
“I’m really excited to see what she’s going to do,” said Florida State University Student Body President Jean Tabares. ”Tonnette is already a strong leader, and I look forward to assisting her in her efforts while we’re both in Tallahassee.”
The FAMU Student Government Association is also enthusiastic about what the next year holds for Graham and the student body.
“It’s always refreshing to have a student leader that is innovative and a catalyst for change, but most importantly, a Rattler,” said Senior Advisor to the Graham-Bruno Administration, Michael Davis.
“Wherever she has gone, FAMU has always gone with her. Now 300,000 more students will go with her.”
Chairwoman Graham returned to Tallahassee on Sunday afternoon, having made FAMU history, the Florida Student Association History and African American History.