Jack Harrison is a senior from Ann Arbor, Michigan, studying political theory and constitutional democracy in James Madison College, and journalism and public relations in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences. Harrison currently serves as chief of staff for the Associated Students of Michigan State University, or ASMSU, the MSU undergraduate student government.
Part of being a successful student is putting coursework into practice through leadership positions, internships and volunteerism. From working on statewide political campaigns and holding leadership positions across the state to reporting for “East Lansing Info” and gaining public relations experience at Martin Waymire — all of these experiences have been valuable. However, the experience that has most impacted my soft skills and career aspirations is the leadership opportunities I’ve found as a member of the Associated Students of Michigan State University.
At the end of my first year, I was elected to the ASMSU General Assembly to represent the College of Communication Arts and Sciences. I gained policy-making experience, passing bills related to issues I am passionate about including accessible parking, cafeteria safety, IM facility upgrades and more flexible internship requirements.
After two years, I wanted to transition to staff. Since my first year, it was a goal to be chief of staff — not for the title, but specifically for the nature of the role. After a long interview process, I received the offer and began in May 2022.
Serving as ASMSU chief of staff has been the most rewarding, fun and difficult job I’ve ever held. I supervise several dozen student staff. It is a lot of work, planning and communication. My job is to ensure all our employees are meeting their goals and finding meaning through their work. Being the point-person can get overwhelming and hard to separate from my personal life, but to see staff finding success and to be there personally for them is so rewarding.
In this role, I clearly see connections to my studies in James Madison, journalism and public relations. In addition to writing formal statements that garner the media’s attention, a significant part of my work includes supporting the advocacy efforts of our government affairs team and MSUVote. Expanding voting access and empowering staff to advocate for local policy changes are two actionable items that give me great satisfaction.
Promoting ASMSU’s services is my favorite part of the job. When I see students get involved in the work that makes this campus better by joining our class councils, using Student Legal Services and accessing SpotlightNews, I know I’ve contributed to improving the Spartan experience.
In May 2023, I’ll shut my office door in the Student Services Building one last time. As that door closes, new doors for new opportunities will open, and I have my MSU education and ASMSU experiences to thank.
This story originally appeared on the James Madison College website.