This Pirate is taking
steps to educate a new generation
Interior design student James Higgins is taking steps to educate a new generation on historic preservation and sustainability.
How do you feel about sustainable building and adaptive reuse?
I think one thing that affected me really badly was watching what happened to Detroit when the auto industry started having problems. Detroit had suffered with the suburb issue enough. As things started to happen, just watching the grand, old important city with some wonderful pieces of residential and commercial architecture (become) abandoned. (They) were left to the point where they just rotted into the ground. These areas deserve better than that. Not just Detroit, but even small cities. You can look at all of the work that’s been done to revive downtown Greenville or all the work that’s happening in downtown Kinston. Try to revive those areas and make those areas viable again … When Detroit had to file bankruptcy that was a travesty. Detroit played a role in building this country. They’ve done their part. We have an obligation to do what we can. We have to have a respect for the city and for the people who built and lived and worked in those cities.
What inspired you to go back to college?
I woke up the morning of my 51st birthday and this was always something I wanted to do. I just never thought I would be able to do it or was brave enough to do it. It’s hard to just quit a job. It was one of those ‘Well, I’m 51 years old and if I don’t do this now, I’m never going to do it’ (moments). That was the largest contributing factor. Once I put my mind to it, I found there was a way to do it.
What would you say to someone who is afraid to go after what they truly want?
If you wait too long, sooner or later, it’ll be too late to do it. If it’s something you really want to do, if you look hard enough and realistically at the options, there’s generally a way to make it happen. You may have to change some things, but there’s always a way to make it happen.
Photography by: Cliff Hollis
Written by: Summer Tillman
College: Health and Human Performance
Hometown: Charleston, West Virginia
Clubs & Organizations: ASID Student Chapter, IIDA Student Chapter
Hobbies & Interests:
Do-it-yourself projects, antique toy trains, period furniture
Favorite place to eat: The Boiler Room in Kinston
Favorite Movie: A Streetcar Named Desire (1951 Version, Vivian Leigh and Marlon Brando)
Favorite website: Amazon
Dream job: Retirement
Favorite place on campus: Rivers Building
Favorite hangout: Home
Favorite class: The Ancient City Pompeii, Dr. Steven Cerutti
Favorite band/musician: Little Feat
Favorite TV show: Night Court
Most Influential Professors:
Dr. Katherine Swank and Susan Meggs, MFA
The one thing you cannot live without: Bill Wilson
Role Models: Anyone who has crossed my path and made a positive difference in my life.
Advice for fellow students:
Life is short. Don't let anyone get in the way.
Your words to live by: "The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me" - Ayn Rand
"There’s no point in using new resources or letting something that’s existing deteriorate to the point where it has to be torn down and put in a landfill."
– Jim Higgins