From meeting President Obama to implementing the $20.12 campaign, Appalachian’s Student Government President has done it all and is doing her best to represent the student body. Read along to get to know your SGA President just a little better.
Name: Lauren Estes
Major: Political Science
Hometown: Matthews NC
Q: What inspired you to run for SGA President?
A: Running for SGA president was never something that I thought I would be able to do, or honestly something I really WANTED to do. But I had always been active in the SGA on campus, and I had developed a passion for the opportunity that it gives students to change the university for the better. When the time came to declare to run for president, something seemed to click in me and Mattie Hardin, my running mate, and we really did feel like we could bring about that positive change within the university while also serving the students in a leadership role. It has been a decision that changed my life, and definitely a decision that I will never regret!
Q: Tell us a little bit about your campaign experience last year?
A: Oh good grief. In all honesty, the campaign process was quite the ordeal. I never expected to say this, but in the midst of the campaign, which lasted over a month, it was difficult not to become exhausted. All of the meetings were wonderful, and all of the ideas that Mattie and I received from our fellow students throughout the campaign were awesome! (They probably were what fueled us through most of it) but the truth is, there were a LOT of little sleep-little food-no time-for-my-life-kind of days. The campaign is a tiring thing that leaves little room for personal life if done correctly. The day we decided to run was the first day Mattie and I started sacrificing what we needed to in our own lives in order to better ASU, and those sacrifices paid off then, and they pay off now.
Q: When Obama came to visit Appalachian, you got to talk and meet with them. How was your experience?
A: I got to hug President Obama. We talked about how beautiful Appalachian State's campus was this time of year, and I thanked him for paying our campus a visit. I also thanked him for his jobs bill, which specifically makes reference to maintaining the career market for teachers. We talked about how ASU is the teacher's college for the region, and that without governmental support, great programs like ours and great teachers like those who graduate from ASU will be wasted talent. He asked me about what I was studying and when I told him that I have aspirations for law school, he commended my goals, and encouraged me to seize my own future! Ill say this, I may not agree politically with a lot of what President Obama believes in, but he is a great man, and he honestly seems to have a heart for the American People he serves. He successfully made me feel completely and totally important, and it was a conversation I will never forget as long as I live.
Q: What's the $20.12 Campaign?
A: The $20.12 campaign is a campaign idea that I actually originally heard from TJ Eaves who is the Student Body President at Western Carolina. It sounded like such a phenomenal idea, which I just HAD to try to implement it at ASU as well! Essentially the idea behind this campaign is that SGA would like to encourage the graduating senior class of this year, 2012, to contribute to the university as their first gift as official alumni. Ideally, every graduating senior would present Chancellor Peacock with a check of 20 dollars and 12 cents (a number of course equivalent to their graduating year) as a token of appreciation; as a symbol of giving back to a university, which has given them so much, and changed the path of their life in such a meaningful way.
Q: What are some other hobbies and interests you have?
A: Hobbies, well I love to sew. I make clothes, blankets, and bags. Eventually, I hope to be able to sew my own wedding dress! I also knit, paint, and I LOVE to read. Beyond all the nerdy stuff I just mentioned, I also am total and complete LOVE with my dog Kieda. (Legit, I care more about her then I do about most people) so in my spare time, I like to take her out and run or walk around beautiful APPALACHIAN STATE! :)
Q: What are your plans for after graduation? Staying in politics?
A: Plan number one - get out of politics! After graduation, I hope to spend a little more time on myself. I love being President, and I hope I also am fairly decent at it, but sometimes, its difficult to find time to just be. So after graduation, that is exactly what I plan to do. I have applied and am crossing my fingers for Teach For America. I hopefully will be spending the next two years helping inner city children get the education that they deserve so that they can have all the opportunity that I was so blessed with.
Q: What's your favorite part about being SGA President? Have a not-so-favorite part?
A: Favorite part: all the free food J/K my favorite part is the opportunity for conversation that it has given me. As president I am privy to University conversations and also conversations with our State representatives (and even the President this year :)) which I never would have had the chance to encounter otherwise. I have the ability to listen, hear, and speak on issues that pertain to the lives of every ASU student, and that is definitely a responsibility I do not take lightly, but a responsibility I am proud to hold!
The least favorite part again I’d have to say is the lack of time to myself sometimes. It is difficult to still enjoy the normal college life, with meetings and trips around the state, and so sometimes I wish that would be a little lighter.
Q: What's your favorite part of Boone or Appalachian?
A: Easy. Mountains and the people who live in them. Mountain culture is amazing, and the people who choose to immerse themselves in it are just as wonderful!
Q: If you could tell Appalachian students one last thing, what would it be?
A: CONTACT ME! I am elected by you to represent you! Hold me to it :) I want your opinions, I want to hear your concerns, and most of all, I want to know how you feel I can best represent you. Feel free to come by the SGA office on the second floor of the Student Union whenever you want and come talk with me or a member of SGA. We are here for you, so come visit us!
Q: And for the heck of it, what's your favorite ice-cream flavor?
A:Hm.. probably peach.
Q: Anything else you'd like to add?
A:Favorite quote: “Let us live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.”