Power Rests in Service Says New ASI President
May 5, 2005 11:02 AM
For Chris Jackson, being the student government president of a campus with over 28,000 students is a good start. One day he hopes to become the mayor of San Francisco.
“I’ve waited three years for this,” said Jackson, 22, as he addressed over 100 family, friends and colleagues who came to support him and the newly inaugurated student government board members at SF State. “This is not just a board of directors, this is a board of leaders.”
Jackson is now officially SF State's Associated Students Inc. president. Jackson, along with the other student elected members, will be in charge of the estimated $3 million budget and seven other ASI-funded programs designed to help the students of SF State.
For him, it's not so much the power of the office that attracts him to it, but the ability to pass on knowledge of that power to the people he serves.
"Giving people access to that power is better than the power itself," said Jackson. "Giving people a door to that power ... (is) the greatest thing when people realize that they have power too."
One of the first things Jackson plans to address is the disinterest many students have for ASI. Most students don't know what it is or where the student fee they pay every semester to ASI goes.
"We fail to outreach to the general population and organization," said Jackson.
Born and raised in Pinole, Calif., Jackson is the only child of a single mother. When asked about not having a male role model, he said his mother, Peggy Jackson, is the strongest person in his life.
"I don't really believe in gender roles," said Jackson. "My mom is it for me."
“He was involved in sports,” said Peggy, 54. “By not having extended family we were together 24/7 but other than that, it was OK.”
Chris still goes home to see her often, in part to get a good meal and in part because he misses her, he said.
Peggy said a political career wasn’t what she envisioned for her son.
“Truth be told, I’m proud of my son and (what) he’s accomplished," said Peggy. "I feel that I raised him right.”
She said the only time he got in trouble in school was for talking too much.
“I think he will be very good at (student government),” said Peggy Jackson. “People have always told me that he’s running his mouth in school. He was either going to be a politician or a minister.”
Jackson was the sophomore representative in 2003-2004. He said he's learned a lot since he served on the board two years ago because when he wasn't re-elected, he was able to focus on the needs of
Prior to his election as ASI president, Jackson interned as a youth commissioner for San Francisco Supervisor Chris Daly. Jackson was one of 17 people who served as the official voices for the San Francisco youth at City Hall.
As a commissioner, Jackson focused on working with the Young Workers United campaign to achieve better rights for young employees. He also worked with the mayor's office to produce more jobs for young people throughout the city.
Daly, with his 7-month-old baby Jack in tow, came to show his support at the inauguration of his former intern.
“I think it’s going to be great for ASI and SF State because Chris is not only involved with important issues on campus but also active in the important struggles of San Francisco,” said Daly. “Sometimes there’s a feeling of disconnect between SF State and San Francisco. Chris is the right person to help bridge that disconnect.”
Jackson, who is a double major in speech and communication studies and urban development, plans to graduate next spring. He aspires to run for office as a city college board trustee.
"Politics isn't just a job for me," said Jackson. "It's a calling."
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