This interview was written by Lindsay Purcell and first appeared in the January 17, 2014 issue of the Technique.
Alex Berry, second-year IE major and Chinese minor, is the sophomore class president for Student Government Association (SGA). An incredibly active student on Tech’s campus, he is involved in multiple SGA committees and campus events, including this week’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day activities. When he’s not busy with homework and SGA proposals, Berry can be found on the soccer field, with his many friends or sometimes even napping.
Technique: What do you hope to do with your major in the future?
Berry: I hope to delve into Global Supply Chain and Logistics, eventually transitioning into international business and corporate management.
Technique: What is your favorite aspect of Tech life?
Berry: I love the how easy it was to make friends and to find a ‘family’ here. Coming from a small high school in southwest Georgia, I was a scared of the vastly bigger environment.
Technique: You are currently the sophomore class president. Why did you join SGA your Freshman year?
Berry: When I came to Tech, I knew very little about the school, its history and, most importantly, the amazing people that go here. I wanted to structure my involvements around activities where servant leadership was abound, while simultaneously having the opportunity to get to know my class better. In addition, I wanted to try something completely different from high school—an extracurricular that really helped me come out of my “study bubble.”
Technique: What SGA “cause” is most special to you?
Berry: SGA works on a variety of initiatives and causes for the student body. Hands down, my favorite cause is supporting student organizations! It’s not just about allocating money, but also helping them to connect on the student, club and administrative level. It’s rare that a Student Government has the potential to have so much impact on individual students, as well as such a voice in general campus affairs.
Technique: You are very involved in the upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. Day events. What portion of the events are you most looking forward to?
Berry: So many months of planning has gone into each event, so it’s hard to pick just one. If pressed, I would say that the annual Martin Luther King Day of Service truly embodies many of the values that the late Rev. King Jr. believed in. Every year, the Day of Service connects students and staff in a truly meaningful way.
Technique: What has been the most challenging part of organizing the Martin Luther King Jr. events?
Berry: To be honest, the Martin Luther King Jr. events are my first real attempt at event planning. Logistics, funding, marketing, etc. where all things my planning committee had to help me learn firsthand. Also, there was a major stretch where the committee had to do communication on an international scale, from South America to India to the U.S. That was definitely a new experience.
Technique: What does Martin Luther King Jr. Day mean to you?
Berry: Martin Luther King Jr. Day is much more than a mere day of remembrance. The holiday encompasses a call to action on local and an international scale. That call really resonates with the Georgia Tech Motto of “Progress and Service.”
Technique: Are there any other upcoming events at Tech you are looking forward to?
Berry: First, Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service: Jan. 20. Second, Martin Luther King Sunday Supper: Jan. 23. Third, First Spring Connect with Tech session for our newly accepted Yellow Jackets.
Technique: What is your favorite thing to do at Tech when you’re not in class, studying or working?
Berry: With no hesitation, the answer is fútbol—soccer. I cannot wait to play on the new turf fields (thanks SGA)! I’ll be very blessed to play with the [Tech] Challenge Football Club for this year’s fútbol intramural season.
Technique: How do you balance being a full-time Tech student and being involved at Tech?
Berry: My friends are crucial to helping me maintain the balance between my involvements and academics. Besides always encouraging me to stay involved and make a difference, they also hold me accountable in my classes. Also, I’ve mastered the ability of the “powernap.”
Technique: If you could change anything about Tech, what would it be?
Berry: I think the way that we look at student organization transitions can really be improved. Every year, the vast majority of organizations have to start at ground zero, with new E-board, new projects and lacking experience. A great way to aid in this would be transition workshops for new and established organizations, as well as giving more real leadership and learning opportunities to underclassmen.
Technique: Any advice to students wanting to become more involved around campus?
Berry: When looking to get involved on campus (or off campus), take your time and find something that you are really passionate about, something that wakes you up in the morning and puts a smile on your face. In addition, get outside your comfort zone. Your involvements from high school were important, but they don’t have to completely dictate and limit your activities now.
Industrial and Systems Engineering