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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Carter Town Hall time

As I freshman at Emory, I remember my first Carter Town Hall as an event I was forced to go to with my FAME (Freshmen Advising and Mentoring at Emory) group that I could have cared less about. C’mon, everyone gets a chance to ask questions of a former President all the time. No big deal.

Since then, I have had the opportunity to attend President Jimmy Carter’s Town Hall several times, and it is something I look forward to at the beginning of each school year. Last night I had the chance to attend with an Emory Alumni Board member, and it was as entertaining as ever.

The evening began with an introduction from Emory’s eternal spirit, Lord James W. Dooley. For some reason I get excited every time he’s around, which is something only Emory alum can truly understand. Believe me, I’ve tried to explain him to people who did not attend Emory and I sound like a creep describing a skeleton that runs around campus.

Emory President Jim Wagner introduced President Carter and thanked him for his dedication to the Carter Center and the University. President Carter began with some brief remarks, noting that at his first Town Hall he was told he was lucky to have achieved such wonderful things after his presidency, most notably being a distinguished professor at Emory.

Then it was time for the good stuff.

Here’s how it works – everyone is handed a piece of paper where you are asked to write down one question you would like to ask President Carter. All the questions are then put into a hopper and Campus Life Dean John Ford asks President Carter as many as time allows. And you can ask anything. Really. The one thing I do remember about my first Town Hall was that someone asked “Boxers or Briefs?”

Last night President Carter got some great questions, ranging from what he would do differently about his presidency, to his opinion on the Tea Party Movement, to the keys to being successful, to how it felt to be one of the most powerful men in the world.

In case you’re wondering: he would get re-elected, he thinks it is an extreme right wing movement that will have success in the midterm elections, the key to being successful is doing something you enjoy, and it felt good.

He advised Emory’s freshman class to get involved now and stay up to date on current events as a way to start making an impact on the world the way that he did. The best way to get your current events? By watching Jon Stewart, of course. President Carter’s admiration for Jon Stewart was further evidenced when he responded that in the movie of his life, he would have Stewart play himself.

Now that would be a movie I’d have to go see.

-- Kelley Quinn 08B, coordinator, Emory Alumni Board

Thank you Emory Wheel for the archive photo of President Carter!

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