The Beginning

by Anastazia Neely, Student Organizer

When I applied to work with REC, I was like a aquaphobe diving headfirst into a body of water with no floatation device. Lucky for me, REC taught me how to swim.

I returned from the Summer Organizing Institute feeling like I had the power to change the world with my pinky finger. The REC staff and everybody else were so bright and positive. It was a nice, whimsical escape from the general negativity and disinterest associated with social motivations. The first couple of days after the training were bliss, I was eager to inform anyone who would listen about the endless possibilities of responsible and community investment - but just like a five-hour energy I eventually crashed.

Caught up in the whirlwind of returning to school for my senior year, saying goodbye to my family and meeting up with friends, I was definitely thinking about Hampton but their endowment was the furthest thing from my mind. Luckily, my phone's reminder on the upcoming conference call with the rest of the student organizers brought my responsibilities back to the forefront. I took a high-speed crash course review through the student handbook (though I already read it on the train back from the Summer Institute) and did some quick research.

The fun thing about research is that if you do it right, you're bound to learn something new by the end. At the end of all research is a rainbow of surprise and the end of my research revealed a document showing the chain of command at Hampton University. Students constantly wonder who to talk to about what and here was the answer - right in front of me. I zeroed in on the Vice President of Business Affairs/Treasurer and her office is within walking distance. If and when I get a meeting, I have so many questions!

- What's your favorite food?
- What's the current policy on choosing investments?
- How about this weather we're having?
- Who handles Hampton's endowment?
- Sprite, Mountain Dew or Mello Yello?
- What is Hampton currently invested in?
- Are you familiar with responsible investment?
- How would you like some apple pie?
- How does Hampton's mission of multi-cultural unity align with the endowment?

And if it goes well, I might even throw a couple bonus questions her way.

- What's your philosophical standpoint?
- When can I take you to lunch?
- Can you introduce me to the University President?

Anyway, my talking points are in the works. Right now, I'm just focusing on scheduling a meeting and I plan to have that accomplished as soon as all employees have returned from the Labor Day holiday. In the meantime, I'll be trying to start my senior year on a good note, making new friends and subliminally recruiting everyone on the sidewalk to join the ranks of the responsible investment movement.

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