Developing Interest in Student Government

Cathy Sterling explains how she became involved in Student Government and how her future husband, Gene Messick, helped develop her interest in politics.

Interview on 2010-11-02


00:00:00.000 "Why me?" has always been a question.
00:00:03.005 Campus elections, and I certainly, like I said, I lived off campus and I wasn't really involved with that--.
00:00:10.208 And student government was just a tiny thing on campus.
00:00:15.512 It was really seen as, as you know well, as you go through the old Technician,
00:00:19.957 it was one of those things you wanted on your resume as you went forward into government in North Carolina,
00:00:25.477 so that's why you see a lot of governors were--[Right, were former presidents.]--student body presidents at different campuses
00:00:31.248 But that was not me, you know.
00:00:35.126 I honestly cannot tell you why I got involved.
00:00:39.228 It was just a period of time when people were like, [Grumbling] "We need a change," [Grumbling], like that, and like [Grumbling] "Why don't you do that?" and I'm like, well, okay.
00:00:49.043 Yeah. And I had started writing letters
00:00:54.825 to the Technician about the athletic fee,
00:00:59.789 which really stirred a pot, and that was really--. I was so shocked at how deeply a pot it stirred.
00:01:08.443 I'm like, whoa, people really care about this. That was maybe what carried me over.
00:01:15.895 I was also at that time involved with a man who became my husband, Gene Messick,
00:01:22.172 who was fighting his own battles with the university, very, very intelligent man,
00:01:26.548 and he really got it, how things worked, but nonetheless
00:01:31.488 the universities at the time were so powerful, and they may still be, I don't know because I haven't kept up.
00:01:38.166 But you weren't going to really win any battles with them as a professor--or he wasn't a full professor but he taught in the school of architecture--
00:01:48.977 who had been told, we don't want you anymore. You're not going to win it.
00:01:53.971 But he did everything to appeal it, and I became aware through him,
00:02:00.254 and he was probably the biggest influence on me in terms of politicizing me to the times,
00:02:08.655 to the times and the events that were going on, so that kind of combination.
00:02:13.286 And how, you know, I still--. I have no clue.
00:02:17.440 I look back, because I've been thinking about that. I don't actually remember but it happened.
00:02:23.873 Suddenly I was there and then it just moved forward.
00:02:26.409 It just moved forward on its own.