Episode 3 Charmaine Grafton
6:55PM Nov 5, 2020
student government association
Hello, hello hello fabulous listeners. Welcome to Out Loud in the Library a Durham Tech Library podcast. I'm your host Courtney Bippley, reference librarian extraordinaire. Today's library update is a reminder that there is still time to finish the Durham Tech Library Read Great Things Challenge. The deadline is December 31. And if you aren't familiar with the challenge, it's a list of 12 challenge categories. If you check off that you read a book for just 10 of the categories you win! Double dipping is allowed. So one book can count for two categories, which means if you read strategically, you can win with just five books. Any book counts. For a class? For fun? Did you read the book to your child? Any book, audio books, graphic novels, short stories, put it down. Find more details about the challenge and a list of the categories in a link in the show notes. And when you're ready you fill out the submission form with the books you read to win a special bookmark and a facemask.
Today's interview is with Charmaine Grafton, President of the Student Government Association and all around impressive person. She's also the model in the picture on the library homepage studiously reading between our bookshelves. Charmaine is going to talk to us about the SGA, who they are, what they do. And of course, she's also going to share what she's reading.
Tell me a little bit about yourself. All right,
Thank you so much, Courtney, for having me on. I really like am getting out of my comfort zone of you know, doing more interviews and telling people about myself because I'm very humble, but I have done a lot and it is nice to share what I've done. But, I am a student here at Durham Tech, I'm working on my second program. My second degree. I completed my associates in arts back in May of 2019. And why I had plans to go ahead and attend a four year university actually in North Carolina Central in the fall of 2019. I was working on a secondary program. And because working and sticking to my commitments is something that I'm really like kind of working on, I decided to stay on at Durham Tech and go ahead and complete that secondary program. So I will be graduating from from that program in May of next year. So I have one more semester left here at Durham Tech.
Almost to the finish line. That's awesome. What program is it?
Awesome. What is the SGA? The Student Government Association and what made you interested in being a part of it at Durham Tech?
Yes. So a couple of years ago, maybe in 2018, or 19, maybe 20, the 2018-2019 school year, Jalen was the SGA President. And she and I went through the Journey program together. And we were in a lot of other different programs together. And I didn't know about the Student Government Association. And so she became the president. So I said, You know what, if I ever get that opportunity, I want to do that. So it kind of left my mind because you know, I was on path to graduate and leave Durham Tech and go on to the four year university. And yeah, the top of the year, right before the pandemic started, I saw an email and I was like, Oh my god, this is my opportunity to be a part of the SGA. So one of my goals was to work on my public speaking for 2020. And I was like, what better way to do that than to become the SGA President, because I know Jalen did a speech at graduation when we graduated. So that's going to be me having that opportunity to work my public speaking skills, and also be a part of an organization that's going to help me develop myself as a leader. So while I was okay with being a part of the SGA, I just took a step. I was like, You know what, let me just go for the President. Let me just go for the top position in the association. And when Gilbert reached out to me the way he positioned the questions and everything was like I was up against someone else. So I was nervous, like, Oh my gosh, am I even gonna get it? You know what, who cares? Just go for it. So I submitted my application went ahead, apply, went ahead and run and here I am today sitting in front of you, the SGA President.
That's amazing. You're really stretching your boundaries and being afraid of public speaking and then deciding to run for president of the SGA that's really like jumping in the deep end, facing your fears.
Absolutely. Like I knew that I would have to do the main thing was like that graduation speech. I didn't take into consideration everything else that comes along with being SGA President and your question to us, what is the SGA? So the SGA, the Student Government Association, we're an organization and we are the voice of the student. So we have our weekly meetings, we have meetings with different senators from clubs and organizations here at Durham Tech, we all come together and see what is it that we can do to make the student experience better. And because we are in a pandemic, my executive board, we're in like a time that no one has ever seen before. We do not meet in person we have had to come together and become a camaraderie through Zoom, through Teams, through email, through WhatsApp, everything has been virtual for us. I think we may have had maybe two opportunities so far that we have actually been in person with one another. And it has been mask on social distance and not being able to really get that SGA experience, that everyone else has, has had prior to us coming into our position. So that's just a bit of breakdown of what it is we do have different. So we're the executive board. But then we have senators from other organizations and clubs that come and meet with us and we help them with getting different funding or motions passed. And you know, all of that meeting delegations, that many.
So many meetings, I know that the library has partnered with the SGA on crafternoons in the past, and this year, that has been a little more difficult because again, of the pandemic, but we're still doing that partnership. What other kinds of things has SGA been doing this semester? I know you've been doing the let's talk about it events online that just started you know, how did that go? What other things are you doing?
So we kicked off this semester with Welcomemania. And again, if you've been a student here at Durham tech, or you know, just been a part of Durham tech, you know, Welcomemania is a big event that we do outside, there are lots of booths, there's a lot of people gifts, giving prizes, food, fun, we weren't able to do that. So we had to become really creative. And for Welcomemania this year, we had a scavenger hunt. And we gave students the opportunity to submit their skills to us via video. So we had a bunch of students submit their skills, from archery, to video, to drawing, to singing to crafting clothes, just all different types of skills that students were able to submit to us and welcome everybody back. So that was one of our activities that we had virtually. And then we had a scavenger hunt, where we have four weeks of questions where students were able to complete a quiz. And what we did was went on to our website and found all the resources that we thought would be pertinent and important to students during the pandemic and put them on quizzes for four weeks. In order to be eligible for the grand prize, you had to complete the scavenger hunt all four weeks and get at least 60%. And the grand prize for both the videos skills challenge and the scavenger hunt was the iPad Pro with a magic keyboard and some EarPods. I really wish I could have been a part of that because I would have definitely loved to get a new iPad Pro and some ear pods because I don't have any of that stuff now. But we were very intentional about those gifts because we do know that we're having to do everything virtually and with the iPad Pro and that magic keyboard if you don't, you know, if you're one of the students who have technology and securities with that iPad, you're still able to take your classes, write papers, everything that you can do with the regular computer.
So that was for the fall. And right now we are starting up with our let's talk about it series. And what that is, as well let me go back to some backstory when we came into the SGA. This term, it was right around the George Floyd killing. So we were all kind of, the whole world was just on edge. And we put out a solidarity statement to this campus and that's kind of been our focus this year is on social injustice. So we're kicking off our Let's Talk About It series. Last week, we had our very first talk and it was on racial injustice. And we had Dr. JJ Evans who is with the North Carolina Community College and then we had Dr. Clark, who is a staff member here at the college we had Roy Carey and we had Gilbert. Roy's on the SGA. And Gilbert is our advisor. He's also employed here at the college and they all came on to just talk about their experience with racial and justices and then you know, we just have a lot of topics coming up. Our next topic is coming up on November 18. And that when we will be talking about gender as a spectrum, and I'm really looking forward to that conversation, because it is going to definitely be an educational conversation for myself. Because right now with the way everything is, even with my employer, gender and you know, gender specific conversations have been like priorities. So just for me learning about that, I'm really anxious to hear that conversation.
That sounds like a really great event. Everyone should go to it.
What does the SGA have planned for the spring semester? I know, it's really hard to plan for the spring semester, right now, do you have anything on the docket?
Yeah, we had a chance to go to our fall conference maybe a couple of weeks ago and got a lot of great ideas. So like you said, it is hard to plan. But we do have like we're wanting to do some drive in movie events, do some more spring fest where we're giving away some more prizes. But again, in the pandemic, you know, we don't even know if we're gonna be able to be on campus, or if everything is still going to be virtual. So we're having to plan out things in an in person setting. And in a virtual setting, we want to be prepared if we are able to be in person and we want to be prepared if we have to be virtual again. So I think the drive in I think even if we have to be virtual, I think we could still probably get away with that if approved, because everybody will be able to be in their cars, social distancing, with a big screen up and watching a movie. So hopefully, that's something that we can pull off. And then we're going to continue our Let's Talk About It conversations and hopefully have some really cool guests.
Everybody had to get through elections and the end of the year. So hopefully at the kick of 2021 we'll be able to lock those special guests and I don't want to let the cat out of the bag. But I do want you guys to just stay tuned because we have some really dope guests come in to talk about a lot of the injustices that our community is suffering from.
Everyone follow the SGA on Instagram and Facebook so you can keep up to date on those special guests.
If someone is listening to this podcast, and they're like, hey, maybe I want to be on the SGA. How would they go about doing that?
Yes. So Gilbert, Umberger is the person to reach out to. We actually have a few positions that are open right now that we need to fill. So reach out to Gilbert Umberger, Umberger G, that's U M B E R G E R G @ Durhamtech.edu. And let him know that you're interested in being a part of the SGA. And he will get you all the information that you need. Also, stay tuned to our social media because we will be posting those positions that we have available. If you are creative. If you have great time management skills. If you are a leader, we invite all of you to apply because these are the characteristics that we need on the SGA. We do understand that life happens and we're all trying to balance doing online learning when some of us aren't used to online learning some of us are doing online learning at home and our children are virtual learning to so we are we understand all of that. But if you're able to balance everything and do your roll in SGA, we definitely want you to be a part of our team.
And it sounds like it's a great place to go if you're afraid of public speaking.
I think this counts by the way.
A plus to you.
So what was the last book you read? And what did you think about it? And it can be for class for fun for a hobby, any kind of book.
Cool. So I love reading I actually enjoyed time off when we don't have to talk about schoolbooks, because I do like reading the last book that like I just wrapped up reading The Richest Man in Babylon and that's like one of the oldest books ever. But it's like one of my favorite books because like it's the end of the year and I am gearing up for setting my 2021 goals and finances is one of my things that I want to work on for 2021. So that book really puts my headspace back into where I need to be to focus on just being better with my money. So if you having some money trouble I definitely recommend that you read The Richest Man in Babylon
Budgeting and money issues. I know I personally am constantly learning new things still. There's always more stuff to learn.
Do you have anything that you yourself want to tell our listeners.
So we all know that we're going through the pandemic and then the this is election year. We want to make sure that we are just stay focused, whatever it is that you're working on, whatever it is that you want to achieve focused on that please don't let The outside distractions from the pandemic. And you know, just everything because it is a distraction. And what I have done and this is what works for me, like I look at the news maybe once a day, if that, because I know there's so many other things that I'm working on, and I really don't want what's going on around the world dictate how I'm going to show up in this world. So focus on your goals, focus on your classes, if you're having trouble with your classes, make sure that you reach out to your instructors, they understand. They're in the pandemic too. So if you're struggling, please reach out to them, communicate with them, let them know you're struggling because they will work with you.
And we are nearing the end of the semester. So I want to just give you some encouragement to finish strong, make sure that you finish with a bang, please do not let the pandemic defeat you or have you down and out. We are going to all get through this. And just keep in mind that we are a part of Durham Tech and the mantra is Do Great Things. So keep that in mind when you are trying to get through, push through, forge ahead. You're part of Durham Tech. And we all do great things. Courtney, I want to thank you so much again for having me on the podcast anytime you want to have another guest that you need some more content, please reach out to me so that I could work on my public speaking skills.
Yes, this is public speaking on easy mode, which is the kind of public speaking that I enjoy. But yes, thank you so much for coming on the podcast today. Your advice is really inspiring. I know that SGA has been incredibly active this year, in spite of all of the challenges you guys have faced. So it's really impressive.
Yeah, it hasn't been easy. But you know, you just have to be creative. And Gilbert and Lisa, Lisa Inman, and Gilbert Umberger, they are our advisors. And they, you know, they've had to pivot and you know, navigate and shift some things from what they're used to doing as advisors. I really want to give them like a huge shout out because they have really been open to thinking outside the box, and really working with us to get our content out and be creative. And you know, just do some innovative things with the students here because we can all get together. So shout out to Gilbert and Lisa, thank you so much for being the great advisors and helping us get our mission and those things that we want to get done, you know, because we can have the ideas but we have to go through the different protocols and we really do appreciate them speaking on our behalf, fighting for on our behalf to make sure that the legacy that we want to leave behind that we can leave it behind. So thank you guys for being such great advisors.
The Richest Man in Babylon was written by George S Clason and was first published in 1926. The Durham Tech Library does not have our own copy of this book. However, we can still get it for you through interlibrary loan, which is where the book is sent from another library to here for you to check out. Interested? The Interlibrary Loan forum is linked in the show notes below. I hope you enjoyed listening and if so hit that subscribe button and maybe throw some five stars. I hope you have a fabulous day!