Malik Zeigler is a junior majoring in political science with an American politics concentration and a minor in history. Malik has been instrumental in planning an Election Night Watch Party event which he hopes will be not only fun but also educational. Find out more about Malik and tomorrow night’s program!
What is the Election Watch Night Party event?
The Election Watch Night Party is sponsored by the Society of African American Culture (SAAC), the African American Cultural Center (AACC) and the Nubian Message and will be held in Witherspoon 356 on Tuesday evening. It is designed to bring the community together to watch the election – just a time to have fun and socialize. We will have giveaways so you can win gift cards by answering our trivia questions, and there will be food for everyone. It’s also a good way for people to see the political process unfold on TV. For a lot of people on campus, it’s their first time voting, so they may have questions about how things are done. The program is a good opportunity to discuss those questions and ultimately see who the winner is.
I’m the co-president of the Society of Afrikan American Culture (SAAC) this year. Our job is to be the political voice for the African American community on campus. I felt there was a need for us to have the watch night so people could be a part of the process and see how it works. And if people have any questions about the process, they can ask and discuss in this environment. That way, we can get a more educated and informed voter base.
What is your involvement on NC State’s campus?
I am co-president of SAAC and a peer mentor with Multicultural Student Affairs (MSA).
How do you define diversity?
I define diversity as everyone coming together for a common goal. It’s also being able to understand and appreciate other cultures and allowing those cultures to exist on campus. Even though you might not accept other cultures, being understanding and not being negative about how they may do things is diversity.
Why do you think a diverse student body is important at NC State?
We are the largest public institution in North Carolina and we want our institution to reflect what the world looks like. The world is becoming a more and more diverse place, and we want our percentages of diversity to look like the national or even the state population looks.
In what ways do you want to see NC State become more diverse? More welcoming?
I hope that we can try to have more classes that help students learn more about different cultures so that it’s not such of a shock when they first come here. I think a lot of the problem is that students get culture shock as freshman and they just don’t know how to react to it. I think mitigating the shock of being around people you haven’t been around your whole life would help.
Also, more inclusivity in events and making sure people know about the different community centers in the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity (OIED): the GLBT center, the Women’s Center, the African American Cultural Center (AACC) and Multicultural Student Affairs (MSA). And people knowing what OIED is in general – knowing that you can come to them for things dealing with diversity and equity.
Would you like to name specific individuals who have mentored you and describe how they have helped you?
First I would like to mention Dr. Tracey Ray. She’s our advisor for SAAC. She’s helped me along the way – she was a former SAAC president when she was at NC State – guiding me in how to run the organization. She’s also helped me meet people that I wouldn’t have met without her help. She’s just been a great help, and since she was a black student on NC State’s campus, her viewpoint is very valuable to me.
Another person I want to mention is Toni Thorpe, better known as Mama Thorpe, in the AACC. I like to say if NC State gave me my academic education, Mama Thorpe gave me my African American education. This has allowed me to become a whole person through understanding my roots. She’ll make you learn those proverbs up and down.
The last person I want to mention is my brother, Marcus Zeigler ‘16. He went to State. I spent two years with him. He helped me through the process of becoming acclimated to the campus. I think a lot of the problems that students face I didn’t face because I had him here. I was able to meet people easier, I had better access to things and it was easier for me to approach people for help. That is the reason why I’m a mentor now, because if you have a person who can introduce you to people and help you out, I think it stops you from becoming a loner on campus or thinking that you don’t have anybody to help you.
What is your advice to younger students?
Definitely vote. Use your voice. Even if your candidate doesn’t win, at least you did what you were supposed to do. You can’t complain if you don’t vote, because then you never had a say to begin with.
And, try to get involved as much as you can with diverse groups of people. I know at first you might want to hang around people that you’re familiar with – I know I did. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to hang out with more groups of people that I usually don’t hang out with and that has definitely helped me. And that’s the only way we can become a diverse campus – if we hang out with diverse people and understand different cultures.
Malik Zeigler was interviewed by Austin Butler, communications intern in the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity.