Developing Interest in Student Government

James Hankins describes how he became involved in Student Government at NC State.

Interview on 2011-07-14


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