Brooks Raiford discusses what he considers to be his greatest accomplishments as a student leader including the professionalization of Student Government. Interview on April 19, 2012. (4:07)


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Well, in my role in student government 00:00:00.000 - 00:00:03.566
I would say we really professionalized the office of student government, 00:00:03.566 - 00:00:06.929
ran it more like a business, more like a professional office 00:00:06.929 - 00:00:10.504
and not a bunch of volunteer kids who had this cool assignment. 00:00:10.504 - 00:00:13.945
We did some things as simple as 00:00:13.945 - 00:00:18.258
making sure that our materials and the legislation that was considered by the senate and so on 00:00:18.258 - 00:00:24.729
was prepared in a professional, businesslike way. 00:00:24.729 - 00:00:27.511
We went downtown and got copies of North Carolina legislation 00:00:27.511 - 00:00:32.505
and how it was presented and prepared and copied that model, 00:00:32.505 - 00:00:35.868
modeled our material after that. 00:00:35.868 - 00:00:37.996
So in those ways I think there was some professionalization of the office. 00:00:37.996 - 00:00:40.980
I think too that I remember being very consciously aware at the time 00:00:40.980 - 00:00:46.117
that I, and we, would be taken more seriously if we showed up 00:00:46.117 - 00:00:51.137
to meetings with administrators with insightful, well-thought-out points of view 00:00:51.137 - 00:00:58.924
and solution options on the table that we had done some research on 00:00:58.924 - 00:01:03.078
than just coming and complaining or focusing on, 00:01:03.078 - 00:01:06.721
gee, we want more tickets at the ballgame. I mean that's maybe important but it's not-. They hear that all the time. 00:01:06.721 - 00:01:11.906
If we were seen as more of an ally and a partner 00:01:11.906 - 00:01:14.816
but still an advocate we could probably get more done in a shorter span of time 00:01:14.816 - 00:01:19.711
that would be more meaningful, so that was a mindset that we really tried to create 00:01:19.711 - 00:01:23.988
and I think did in that period of time. 00:01:23.988 - 00:01:26.475
Long term for me, being one of the founders of my chapter of Phi Delta Theta here-which it is a national fraternity, 00:01:26.475 - 00:01:34.227
it just didn't exist here, so it existed already in other places. 00:01:34.227 - 00:01:38.209
I've remained involved with that organization now for twenty years. 00:01:38.209 - 00:01:42.289
I still chair the corporation that owns and operates the fraternity house; 00:01:42.289 - 00:01:46.260
I'm an advisor as a result to the students; I get to know the student leadership of that chapter every year. 00:01:46.260 - 00:01:51.463
That's very invigorating because it's a new crop all the time, 00:01:51.463 - 00:01:56.406
they go through some of the same challenges and have some of the same issues, but it's always impressive what students do 00:01:56.406 - 00:02:04.273
and how smart they are and how innovative and entrepreneurial they are. 00:02:04.273 - 00:02:07.911
So that activity has probably been the most constant touch point I've had, or consistent touch point I've had, over the last twenty years, 00:02:07.911 - 00:02:17.460
but similarly I serve on the Park Scholarship review committee, 00:02:17.460 - 00:02:21.369
I'm on the board of the college of humanities and social sciences and will be president of that board this coming year and a half, 00:02:21.369 - 00:02:27.060
and those are other areas where I'm engaged with faculty and staff and students 00:02:27.060 - 00:02:32.818
in a fresh way all the time and really see amazing things. 00:02:32.818 - 00:02:38.340
Just today, when I parked near here and walked across half our campus to get to this building, 00:02:38.340 - 00:02:42.976
as I looked around and saw students and overheard conversations 00:02:42.976 - 00:02:47.988
and just sort of witnessed what was going on, it's really a refreshing experience 00:02:47.988 - 00:02:52.360
to come back to the campus because you do get set in your mind's eye what it was like when you were here. 00:02:52.360 - 00:02:57.439
I have the advantage of being nearby so I can come more often than I do. 00:02:57.439 - 00:03:02.465
Often now when I have meetings on campus it's at certain regular places, I'm not really walking around the main campus, 00:03:02.465 - 00:03:09.179
and I should do that more. But all that ties back into, 00:03:09.179 - 00:03:13.291
in terms of achievements or things I'm most satisfied about, 00:03:13.291 - 00:03:16.816
it was being very engaged in the campus. For me it became a small place 00:03:16.816 - 00:03:21.201
and I felt like I had a finger in a lot of different areas on campus 00:03:21.201 - 00:03:25.749
such that I had a really wholesome and fulfilled experience here, 00:03:25.749 - 00:03:30.777
a full experience here. As a result ever since then 00:03:30.777 - 00:03:36.021
I've felt very connected to the campus, I bring with me a lot of relationships, a lot of familiarity with the structure that serves me well in my job, 00:03:36.021 - 00:03:44.219
it serves me well in areas where I want to volunteer, 00:03:44.219 - 00:03:47.705
it makes me feel closer to the institution, 00:03:47.705 - 00:03:50.613
and so in all those ways I think that things I was able to do while here 00:03:50.613 - 00:03:54.999
allowed all that to happen, 00:03:54.999 - 00:03:57.577
so it's been an ongoing benefit. 00:03:57.577 - 00:04:00.557

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