James Hankins describes how he became involved in Student Government at NC State. Interview on July 14, 2011. (2:50)


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In high school I was involved in student government. I was student body president and all that stuff and it was good, 00:00:00.000 - 00:00:05.756
but it was so ceremonial. 00:00:05.756 - 00:00:09.239
It was planning prom and putting together dances and stuff like that. 00:00:09.239 - 00:00:15.580
All that was fine, and we got to do some good things in high school, 00:00:15.580 - 00:00:21.253
we got to do a voter registration drive, which we hadn't done before, so that was good. 00:00:21.253 - 00:00:24.730
We were happy to do that. 00:00:24.730 - 00:00:26.787
But when I got here, when I got on campus 00:00:26.787 - 00:00:31.283
and one of my good friends, Lock Whiteside, 00:00:31.283 - 00:00:35.275
was an advisor for the summer African American Symposium program, 00:00:35.275 - 00:00:41.927
and when I got on campus this man was already running for student body president that next year, 00:00:41.927 - 00:00:47.996
he was actively involved in stuff like that. 00:00:47.996 - 00:00:52.017
I got to do a little bit of research and I realized that student government, 00:00:52.017 - 00:00:55.798
especially the student senate, had access to real money that people wanted and needed and that we had the power to distribute, 00:00:55.798 - 00:01:05.013
and I thought that was something that was completely out of the realm of what I understood about what student government was. 00:01:05.013 - 00:01:13.131
I realized that a lot of campus organizations, 00:01:13.131 - 00:01:17.071
a lot of different service projects, 00:01:17.071 - 00:01:19.055
a lot of different activities, were funded through student government appropriating those funds, 00:01:19.055 - 00:01:25.206
so at that point I said I want to be able to do some positive things in this area. 00:01:25.206 - 00:01:32.506
I found that student body president was on the board of trustees. 00:01:32.506 - 00:01:36.778
I found out that students had seats on fee committees and tuition committees where they actually had votes 00:01:36.778 - 00:01:43.290
that counted towards how much tuition was going to be raised, how much this particular fee was going to be raised. 00:01:43.290 - 00:01:48.594
I said I have to get involved with this because I think I have a strong voice that I can use to help do some positive things for students. 00:01:48.594 - 00:01:55.626
Ran for office as a freshman, 00:01:55.626 - 00:02:00.228
and I was happy to get elected that year. 00:02:00.228 - 00:02:02.873
There was a big ticket running against a bunch of the freshman, there was like seven people on it 00:02:02.873 - 00:02:08.362
and there was eleven seats, so there was a little consternation amongst a lot of us because were like, okay, 00:02:08.362 - 00:02:14.384
these guys are running against us, how are we going to pull this out, 00:02:14.384 - 00:02:18.147
and there was probably twenty-five people running. 00:02:18.147 - 00:02:20.202
So I just went out, went from door to door, talked to people. 00:02:20.202 - 00:02:24.556
I was fortunate to make a lot of friends in symposium, make a lot of friends at orientation. 00:02:24.556 - 00:02:28.476
Teaching Fellows was a fantastic help because there was a class of forty of us, 00:02:28.476 - 00:02:34.424
so that was forty people that were on my side just immediately 00:02:34.424 - 00:02:37.110
because I was a teaching fellow. So it was a good time, and that got me involved. 00:02:37.110 - 00:02:41.348
That's what got me involved in student government. 00:02:41.348 - 00:02:42.924

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