Jasmine Cannon is an NC State senior in Women’s and Gender Studies from Paulsboro, New Jersey whom you may have seen participating and leading events on campus. Find out more in our interview with her.
What activities have you been involved in at NC State?
- Afrikan American Student Advisory Council, Junior Class Representative (2014-2015), Vice Chair (current)
- Peer Mentor Program, Mentor (2014-current)
- UAB-Black Students Board, Secretary (2014-current)
- Society of Afrikan American Culture, Political Affairs Chair (2014-2015), Vice President (Current)
- 2015 Symposium for Multicultural Scholars Counselor
- AYA Ambassador (current)
- Fall 2015 IgniteNC Fellow
What have been some of your most impactful experiences while a student here?
In three and a half years, there have been a lot of people that built me up to this point and many experiences that have contributed to my growth as an individual, scholar and activist. As a black woman, coming to such a large institution far away from home, a place that I’ve always found comfort is in the African American Cultural Center. The AACC has always been a place where I’ve been affirmed in knowing that my and other black lives do matter on this campus. And every year, whether I’m at the Ebony Harlem Awards, Blacks in Wax Museum, the Martin Luther King Jr Commemoration speech, or What’s On the Table, I am reminded of this. As a scholar, I’ve been positively impacted by my time in the classroom with diverse faculty and in my extra-curricular activities with diverse staff. Some of my favorite faculty on campus, like Dr. Tracey Ray, Dr. Judy Kertész, Dr. Ashley Simons-Rudolph, and staff like Toni Harris-Thorpe (a.k.a. Mama Thorpe), Jennifer Castillo and Garry Morgan, have played a significant part in my development as a student on campus. As an advocate and activist, I have been most positively impacted by my semester serving as an IgniteNC fellow and as the Vice President of the Society of Afrikan American Culture. I would have never felt empowered to speak up for students, host town hall meetings or campus demonstrations, and to try and learn more about other marginalized groups had it not been for these groups. Last, I have to thank LeaderShape and the Equal Opportunity Institute for challenging me as a leader and advocate.
Why do you feel a diverse student body is important at NC State?
A diverse student body is important because there is no single walk through life. For so long, groups have been marginalized in the United States, and NC State and the campus are not isolated from that bias, discrimination, aggression, or racism. We need students to know that on their campus home (no matter their race, gender identity, sexuality, religion, origin, level of ability, etc.), their life, well being and success are important. We also need students to know that their voices and experiences are being accounted for, and that there is room to point out when they aren’t. A diverse student body is important, not only because it represents how many different countries and backgrounds students come from, but the university’s ability to be accepting, welcoming and truly inclusive of students who have been pushed out for too long.
Do you have any words of advice for younger students?
My advice to students would be to find your niches, whether they be academic, extra-curricular, safe-spaces, friends, or mentors. Second, say “hi” to people on your way to class and ask them how they’re doing. This is a great, easy way to network and those people might become your friends or teach you something new! Also, it’s important to find ways to take care of yourself when stressed, whether it be drinking extra water, taking a walk, or taking your mind off of your homework for just a few minutes by playing videos games/online shopping/eating dinner. Last, and most important, my advice would be to try new things but don’t overcommit yourself to things that won’t make you happy or benefit you in the long run. Don’t join seven clubs if you aren’t really fond of what they do. Find a few things that will help you grow, and if they don’t help you develop, move on.