Norris Tolson describes growing up as a member of the Future Farmers of America, the importance of leadership, and how he became involved in Student Government at NC State College. Interview on May 12, 2011. (2:15)


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One of the things that a lot of farm kids came to NC State with, 00:00:00.000 - 00:00:03.716
and other schools as well, but one of the things that we had learned a lot about in high school 00:00:03.716 - 00:00:09.066
is leadership. 00:00:09.066 - 00:00:11.559
I was a strong, big Future Farmers of American member when I was at South Edgecombe, my high school, 00:00:11.559 - 00:00:20.104
I met a lot of kids across North Carolina through FFA, including Governor Hunt, 00:00:20.104 - 00:00:25.579
so when I came to NC State 00:00:25.579 - 00:00:28.967
there were a bunch of ag folks, like me, 00:00:28.967 - 00:00:32.488
who had grown up in that environment of FFA as we were leaving high school and getting into our college experience 00:00:32.488 - 00:00:40.197
so we kind of gravitated to each other. 00:00:40.197 - 00:00:42.708
In fact we kid Governor Hunt about it. He had a machine long before he became a politician in state government. 00:00:42.708 - 00:00:48.966
He had a machine at NC State so a lot of us who had been in FFA were recruited into the Governor Hunt machine when he was at NC State. [Laughs] 00:00:48.966 - 00:00:58.017
So I got very involved early on in things like student orientation. 00:00:58.017 - 00:01:03.356
As a sophomore I ran the student orientation program for incoming freshmen, 00:01:03.356 - 00:01:07.352
but I did that as a result of being asked to do that by people that I had known in FFA who were in leadership positions at NC State. 00:01:07.352 - 00:01:16.216
So I got very involved early on and it just became a way of life. I enjoyed it, I enjoy that, I still enjoy being involved in policy making, 00:01:16.216 - 00:01:26.235
which is kind of what those jobs did, 00:01:26.235 - 00:01:28.659
and so not only did I run the student orientation program as a sophomore 00:01:28.659 - 00:01:35.215
but I also got involved in the student senate. 00:01:35.215 - 00:01:38.408
Another really good friend of mine, a guy named Charlie Russell 00:01:38.408 - 00:01:42.955
who was in the college of agricultural, he was in ag education at the time, 00:01:42.955 - 00:01:47.923
Charlie had to go out and do his student teaching and so as a student senator I took over as vice president of the student government while he was out doing his student teaching. 00:01:47.923 - 00:01:57.242
He was student body vice president 00:01:57.242 - 00:02:00.090
and I took over for him and ran the student senate while he was out, 00:02:00.090 - 00:02:04.241
and that kind of led me into other things that I did as a student. 00:02:04.241 - 00:02:07.553

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