Edward Bannister-Holmes: Champion Community Advisor

Meet Edward Bannister-Holmes, a senior communication studies major at TCNJ who reaches Campus Celebrity level by juggling his studies with Greek life, volunteer work, studies abroad and serving as a Freshman Year Experience CA.

Eddie was actually hired as a CA his freshman year, but was forced with the choice between becoming a CA and remaining a Bonner member. Having already invested a year into being a Bonner, Eddie made his choice and since then, has found non-profit work incorporated into many aspects of his life.

Not only did Eddie fulfill his maximum four years as a Bonner, but he is president of the non-profit fraternity on campus, Omega Psi Pi (Iota Gamma), has ventured with Dr. John Pollock to South Africa to work on proposals for medical companies regarding HIV/AIDS, is an active mentor for TCNJ’s Pride Mentor Program run by Mr. Jamar Johnson and still continues to make visits to his previous position tutoring at the HedgePeth Williams K-8 school in Trenton.

But Eddie never regrets his choice to remain a Bonner and decline his offer to become a part of First Year Experience, saying that his years as a Bonner, acting as a leader, speaking publicly and representing the College nationally have prepared him for his succeeding ventures in life, including his experience in South Africa with the communications department.  

“Being a Bonner helped me be able to talk about these topics and allowed for deeper conversations with these people to expand my own knowledge.”

And now, as a fifth year senior due to a late major change, Eddie is able to bring what he learned from serving as a Bonner into his position as a First Year Experience CA. And it’s clear that he’s a true born CA, as he is already dreading the day he will have to graduate and leave his freshman floor students.

Earlier in the academic year Eddie was faced with enormous tragedy that even the best CAs cannot train for-dealing with a death of a student on his floor. It’s something he still is dealing with but admits that “life doesn’t stop.”

“It truly taught me what it means to deal with hardship and made me realize that mental health is a very serious topic that needs attention. There is a lot of stigma surrounding it and we need to combat that. I’ve become passionate about making a social change and telling people to seek help.”

Because, as he admits, he himself needed to reach for help. Having to balance being a supporter for other students on the floor while being a student and president of a fraternity isn’t easy when in reality, he is still a student and a human being who needs support through this hard time too.

“I’ve learned that not everyone will help, but I managed to find help through my Wolfe staff, my friends, my family, and it really enlightened me and reinforced that people can be very kind in these situations.”

Eddie mentions that from this, and his other experiences throughout college, he is just trying to give back and be that kind person to others.

Eddie admits that finding a balance between all of his activities and passions is hard-but worth it, sharing two tips he tells his students: Use your calendar and Explore college: there are a lot of club banners in the Student Center, and each of those has a story- go find that story.

And to anyone looking to be a CA?

“Really engage your residents-don’t just do it for the free housing,” Eddie advises. “If you want to get involved in the Freshman Year Experience, expect a time commitment. You are dealing with students entering a new element of life who in many ways need a hand to guide them. You’ve got to put care and love and passion into it. And as long as you have passion- it shows in your work.”