Importance of Leadership

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 2011-05-12


00:00:00.000 One of the things that a lot of farm kids came to NC State with,
00:00:03.716 and other schools as well, but one of the things that we had learned a lot about in high school
00:00:09.066 is leadership.
00:00:11.559 I was a strong, big Future Farmers of American member when I was at South Edgecombe, my high school,
00:00:20.104 I met a lot of kids across North Carolina through FFA, including Governor Hunt,
00:00:25.579 so when I came to NC State
00:00:28.967 there were a bunch of ag folks, like me,
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
00:00:40.197 so we kind of gravitated to each other.
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.
00:00:48.966 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]
00:00:58.017 So I got very involved early on in things like student orientation.
00:01:03.356 As a sophomore I ran the student orientation program for incoming freshmen,
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.
00:01:16.216 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,
00:01:26.235 which is kind of what those jobs did,
00:01:28.659 and so not only did I run the student orientation program as a sophomore
00:01:35.215 but I also got involved in the student senate.
00:01:38.408 Another really good friend of mine, a guy named Charlie Russell
00:01:42.955 who was in the college of agricultural, he was in ag education at the time,
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.
00:01:57.242 He was student body vice president
00:02:00.090 and I took over for him and ran the student senate while he was out,
00:02:04.241 and that kind of led me into other things that I did as a student.