The Mississippi Valley State University motto - Live for Service is something Vester Waters takes to heart.
The 24-year old Detroit native believes whole-heartedly in the notion of service, being positive and giving back to one’s community.
His commitment to service can be seen in the way he carries himself, the way he respects his instructors and peers and in how he works in the community.
Because of his love of people and his passion to help others Waters will be receiving a degree in social work and mass communications.
Waters most recent internship has been with the Delta Health Alliance and he has interned with the Communications and Marketing Department at MVSU.
“I love working with Delta Health Alliance and so I love working with them doing college readiness, ACT prep and just answering questions about college,” said Waters. “I didn’t have anybody to pour into me knowledge about college or to ask about college so I’m happy to be that person for young people.”
Although Waters is not certain that working with Delta Health Alliance is where he desires to be forever, he knows that for the present he has a drive and a purpose to be there.
“This is where I want to be right now because I feel compelled to help young people who are in the place where I once was,” he added.
On the communication side, Waters is dreaming to one day start a production company where he focuses his attention on sharing positive news from the community. The name of the company is still in the works, but he knows the word positive will be included.
“We need to have a positive video broadcast out there,” Waters added. “A lot of people say positivity doesn’t sell, but I think it will. I want to do this because with everything I have accomplished here at Valley I have still yet to be featured in a Detroit news article. Had I gone on a killing spree down here I would have been plastered on the front page.”
His dream is to create a show where young people are not interested in making twerk videos or fighting clips, but rather decide to help enhance their communities so they can make it on the Vester Waters Show.
“I want them to work to have a positive outlet to be featured on rather than so much negativity,” said Waters.
During his internship with Communications and Marketing, Waters has learned a great deal.
“I have learned so much. I have shadowed people in the department, operated cameras and make videos of my own,” he said. “This is exactly what I want to do with my company one day.”
The man he has evolved into is because of Valley, but his call to service was embedded in him early on by his mother, Patricia.
“When I left high school I was nothing like the man I am now,” said Waters. “I wasn’t the nerdy type, and I was hanging with the wrong crowd. Being at Valley has released my potential. I really blossomed here. I am thankful to my Valley family for loving me and helping me. My mother was a teacher and always had a very giving spirit. I get my spirit to give back from her.
The 881-mile decision from Detroit to Itta Bena was an easy one for Waters to make considering Mississippi Valley offered the two most important things he was looking for when choosing a college.
“I applied to as many Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) as I could because I didn’t want to go to a Predominantly White Institution (PWI),” said Waters. “Valley offered me a full ride and the rest as they say is history.”
Waters said his parents, Patricia Lewis and Sylvester Waters were a little nervous about him coming to Mississippi Valley initially with the racist history surrounding the area, but he assured them he would be fine.
“Things were tough at first, but I didn’t want to stay in Detroit. I needed somewhere to come and clear my head, and I found that peaceful place in Mississippi.”
With his mind in a peaceful place, Waters became a 2014 Tom Joyner Scholar, he received the 2015 BET Community Leadership Award and a member of Kappa Kappa Psi (band fraternity). He also earned the distinction of 2016-17 White House Initiative HBCU All-Star.
In addition to all of that, one of Waters’ biggest honors was being elected Mr. Mississippi Valley State University for the 2015-16 school year.
“Being named Mr. Valley was something I never expected,” said Waters. “I love this school and to have the chance to represent it in that manner was amazing,”
The experience Waters had with the Tom Joyner Foundation and his knowledge of Aspire TV have served as inspiration for what he wants to do with his life.
“I want to do something big like that. I want to help with scholarships and help low-income students get into college and learn about the application process,” said Waters. “There are so many bright individuals that just don’t know what to do or how to go about getting into college and finding money. That’s why I’m sticking with Delta Health Alliance because it’s teaching me the foot work, paper work and grant part of it”
Like most people who relocate from the north down to the rural south it can be a bit of a culture shock and for Waters’ it wasn’t any different.
When it comes to being a student at Valley, Waters’ loves the intimate atmosphere over the large college experience.
“The small intimate type setting is something I love about Valley over the large university where you’re just a number.”
While being a student at Valley one of Waters’ biggest motivations is his nieces and nephews. He has over 20 nieces and nephews and each of them represents why he continues to push himself.
“All of my nieces and nephews admire me, but more specifically I have a sister who has 10 kids and all ten of those kids look up to and love me,” Waters explained. “My sister’s oldest daughter, Kyla, is really following in my footsteps. I am like her big brother and I do a lot of what I do because of her.
For the first three years of Waters’ time at Valley he was a member of the Mean Green Marching Machine Band. With his love for music, Waters taught himself piano and even received an award for his song, “Believe It, Achieve It.”
“I won first place in Jackson and was the feature performer at the Coast to Coast Mix Tape National Music Convention in Miami, Fla.”
The song sums up what Waters would tell any person.
“No matter how tough things get, to keep pushing and believe in yourself. Keep working, stay motivated and stay humble,” Waters concluded.