2020 was a year in which everyone’s world was turned upside-down. The pandemic, racial inequality and a strongly divided U.S. presidential election all helped bring about a sentiment within the American people that held no hope for good days ahead. However, in the fall of 2020, a newly admitted freshman from Jacksonville, Florida was not about to let any of the events of that year keep him from making his mark at Florida State University (FSU).
Jack Rowan states that there are two stories of how he first became interested in U.S. politics. The first is favored by his family and is often referred to as “the family joke.” The story starts like this: Jack’s relatives claim that they first discovered that he could read when he began to say the name of a former presidential candidate, Ron Paul, out loud each time they passed by his campaign posters. Jack’s decision to exercise his developing reading abilities on campaign media led his family to believe that his future would indeed lie in the realm of politics.
The second story is the one Jack claims to be the true origin of how he gained an interest in this field. It is far less anecdotal but still stems back to his childhood. He first took a casual interest in the world of politics at around age 10, and over the years, that interest soon turned into a passion. Fast forward to his high school days, Jack claims that his involvement in politics really began to gain steam when he became more cognizant of the political affairs of his hometown Jacksonville, Florida. Let us say that he was not impressed. The ancient proverb “ignorance is bliss” seemed all too real when Jack began to notice the ugly truths that often come from government affairs. He initially had begun his involvement in response to inadequate funding for educational facilities in the city. However, he decided to push the fight even further when realizing that “too often there are people in office for the wrong reasons.”
After doing what he could about Jacksonville’s political scene, it was time for Jack to begin his next significant chapter in life: university. Jack states that he arrived at FSU hoping to “escape” the turmoil that he had left behind in Jacksonville and pursue a degree in political science. Although Jack has found success and satisfaction in his major, the same cannot be said about how he felt when he started to explore what FSU’s Student Government Association had in store. Once again, he was met with issues he had thought he left behind. Demands not being met, opinions being silenced and people gripping unfairly on to power. When learning all this, Jack did not choose to turn away, but instead, he did what he does best: get involved. Jack argues that the reason he is willing to take the steps he takes towards change is because of his firm belief in “the ability for government to be a force for good when good people are in it.”
Just when he had identified the issues he would like to see fixed, one of SGA’s newest political parties made its way into Jack’s life. Jack admits that Progress FSU was not exactly a perfect match regarding his political agenda, yet what sealed the deal was the energy he saw being displayed by its members. “They are truly fighting for what they believe is right… I can definitely work with them,” Jack thought to himself when he was first introduced. He would soon go on to witness the writing of Progress FSU’s Constitution and eventually win the election to become the party’s Outgoing Campaign Manager. After several campaigns and 28 current FSU Student Senate seats won by Progress candidates, Jack is more than ecstatic to have been a part of this effort since close to its beginning. Jack affirms, “Progress FSU has certainly been the highlight of my year.”
Now that the 2021 spring semester is coming to an end, Jack intends to move on to greener pastures. After spending some time on the sidelines, Jack will now be able to get in on the action when he begins his duties as the newest Parliamentarian of FSU’s Student Senate. Regardless, Jack is incredibly excited about what Progress will continue to accomplish in these upcoming years and believes that with the dedication and energy he has witnessed until now, they are for sure to go far and bring about genuine progress to FSU’s SGA. Furthermore, Jack has nothing but gratitude for the party and the fantastic candidates he has had the honor to work alongside. Jack now anticipates a future in which he will graduate with his bachelor’s degree in the fall of 2022 and return to Jacksonville to continue the work he has left behind.
If there is one thing one should take away from this informative article, it is Jack’s love for his hometown, which he refers to as “the largest small town you have ever been in” and “a place like no other.” Jack hopes to one day be a part of the efforts that transform his beloved city into one of Florida’s “beacons of light.” Jack’s dedication to the causes he cares about during such turbulent times is living proof that with the right amount of passion and endurance, there are no storms that we cannot weather and no change we cannot create.