Campus Celebrity: D.J. Lester

D.J. Lester is a Senior with a major in Sociology and a Music minor. The first time I heard of D.J., he was organizing a pep rally for the men’s basketball team for their win at Michigan State. Social media lit up when the students were called upon to rally their Heels home. The most important detail of this story: it was three o’clock in the morning. When I showed up at the Dean Dome, D.J. was organizing the band and about 50 other students awaiting the return of our beloved Heels. I was immediately impressed by the dedication it takes to organize a pep rally WITH a pep band at three in the morning. D.J. has proved his celeb status on campus and talks more about his involvement at Carolina.

HerCampus: What clubs/organizations are you involved in on campus?\

DJ Lester: Marching Tar Heels – Drum Major. I work in the Office of the Dean of Students as an Office Assistant as well. That takes up some time.

HC: What is your favorite thing about UNC Chapel Hill?

DL: My favorite thing about Carolina is calling it my home. It actually is one big family. I love to go and just sit at different spots around campus and just reflect on everything that has happened since I’ve been here. I do not take this experience for granted and I’m thankful every day for the opportunity to be here.  When the weather is nice, I like to go sit at Kenan Stadium and study or just relax and get away from those stressed out days.

HC: What is the most memorable moment of your college experience so far?

DL: I would love to say being in the Dean Dome when we beat dook is my most memorable, or when State punted to Gio. A lot of us shared those moments. However, my junior year, I marched tuba in the Marching Tar Heels. It was the white-out game against Virginia Tech. We were lined up to do the Old Well Walk and this little kid came up to me and was so fascinated with the tuba. I told him to stand in front of me and the football players would shake his hand as they passed by. His father said he was more fascinated with the band than with the team. The next home game, I saw him as we were marching to the stadium. I couldn’t remember his name, so I just yelled, “Hey little buddy!” He waved back and I remember him saying to his dad, “Dad! He remembered me!” Might seem weird, but anytime I can put a smile on somebody’s face like that, it feels good.

HC: What are you most passionate about?

DL: I am most passionate about helping others find some reason to be happy. Life truly is shorter than we think and I believe we have to spend every day with a smile on our face. We spread gossip like wildfire but we can’t share a smile, hug, or even a laugh? That’s not right. I feel like Kid President. We need to give each other a reason to dance!

HC: What advice would you give incoming Tar Heels about campus involvement?

DL: Get involved. Do something. Explore your options and find something that is of interest to you. No matter what you do, put your best foot forward. Don’t half-step and don’t procrastinate! Seriously, don’t procrastinate.

HC: What is your favorite quote?

DL: "Smile every chance you get.  Not because life has been easy, perfect, or exactly as you had anticipated, but because you choose to be happy and grateful for all the good things you do have and all the problems you know you don’t have.”

HC: Who is your biggest inspiration?

DL: Coach Dean Smith. I will never forget how my grandmother used to talk about him. I would watch documentaries and listen to other people talk about him. They would all say he was the most selfless person they knew. That’s how I want to be. Selfless.

HC: If you could meet anyone, alive or dead, who would it be?

DL: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I don’t want to meet him because he was a famous black person who everybody knows and who was a pioneer for Civil Rights. I want to meet him and ask him how he did it. How did he steady the course when so many were against him? How did he do it when he received death threats and he didn’t have much security protection? What did he do when he felt like giving up? I’m almost certain he would tell me it was never about him and that he had a dream and kept his faith and trust in God. Still, I’d rather hear him saying it than imagine him saying it.

HC: Just for fun: Who is your favorite UNC basketball player?

DL: Well, it used to be J.P. Tokoto. It still is. I like the way the guy just floats to the basket for crazy dunks. Everyone else is so forceful with it, but he makes it look so easy. It reminds me of Jordan. However, it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t show Marcus Paige the appreciation he deserves. That kid is on fire. I’m even more thankful that I’m not a fan of the teams that play against him. Don’t get me wrong, I love the whole team because they are my team, but J.P. and Marcus are my dudes!