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Student Justin Davis will take on the challenge of leading the East Carolina University Student Government Association as president for the 2012-13 academic year. (Photos by Jay Clark)

ECU student engaged as Student Government Association president

By Melanie Jock
ECU News Services

Political science major Justin Davis never imagined he might one day sit at the table with policymakers at East Carolina University.

In his early days as a Pirate, Davis struggled through classes, changed his major, attended his fair share of parties and changed his major yet again. “I wasn’t engaged, I wasn’t involved,” he said. 

But this summer, as ECU’s 2012-13 Student Government Association president, he was sworn in as a member of the ECU Board of Trustees.

“If four years ago someone would have told me I would be president of SGA and be sworn into the Board of Trustees, I would have called them crazy — politely,” he said.

“I’m not the cookie cutter college student that one might imagine an SGA president would be,” Davis said. But the struggles he experienced in his early college days helped him to realize he needed to make some changes. “ECU transformed my life, allowing me to be become self-aware…identifying what I want to do and how I want to do it.” he said.

Davis began to get involved in 2010 when he decided to run for SGA treasurer, at the urging of his friend and former SGA president Tremayne Smith. He held that position for two years. But he said his transformation began in earnest when he decided to run for student body president and even more so, after he won the election.

“I have the opportunity and responsibility to represent and advocate for each and every student at our great university. This is a daunting task,” he said.

He said he is excited about the challenge of leading the SGA, but anxious as well.

“SGA in the past has not represented the entire student body,” he said, “and this year we’re focusing on building a new foundation, so we’ve identified a new mission.”

Davis said he wants everyone’s voice to be heard, and that means encouraging students to get more involved.

“Students who aren’t engaged really can become engaged…I was someone who was not engaged at all,” Davis said. “At ECU, you’re either involved or you’re not, so we have to find a way to bridge that gap between students who aren’t involved.”

Davis now has a long list of campus activities, including the ECU Marching Pirates, Phi Mu Alpha Music Fraternity, Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity, the ECU Symphonic Wind Ensemble, ECU New Student Orientation and the Volunteer and Service Learning Center.

The new SGA president also shared his excitement about participating on the university’s Board of Trustees. “It’s an honor, but more than anything it’s really humbling,” he said. 

“You see the people who sit on the board and you know the accomplishments they’ve made, but at the same time they treat the student member just like everyone else,” he said.

Outside of school and his SGA duties, Davis said he enjoys spending time with friends, being involved in his church, reading to unwind and playing his tuba every now and then.

“I want to go into the mission field when I graduate,” Davis said, and mentioned Africa or India as potential destinations. 

Davis said the university motto, “to serve” plays a part in his life. “That’s what I feel we are called to do,” he said. “We’re called to serve.”

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