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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Jamil Davis

Chicago, Illinois

Majors in Economics and Public Policy

Jamil Davis is campus life chair in the Student Senate and wants to make meaningful change in government.

Jamil Davis has been on Student Senate for 3 years.

What brought you to Knox?

Knox is a small campus, which I love because I come from a high school of 4,000 students. Knox has around 1,300 students, and the campus is beautiful. I chose Knox because I wanted people to know my name and recognize me. At Knox, they emphasize the fact that you're not just a number or a student ID—I’m Jamil Davis, I do this and this. It's a tight-knit community, too. I feel like I can't go anywhere without seeing familiar faces, and I love that familiarity. Plus, it's not that far from home. I can just take a train and go back to Chicago. 

What led you to major in public policy and economics?

I’ve always been interested in government because I think effective change happens in government, so I decided to major in public policy.

Economics came out of nowhere: I took an economics class my junior year at Knox, and I just fell in love with it. It's the only math class I was good at.

Why do you want to run for political office?

I always thought that meaningful and impactful change happens at either the state or federal levels. It's about changing and adapting laws to fit people. I think we live in a time where change is important, and I’ve always wanted to be a part of that mechanism of change. I want to hear people’s concerns, advocate for them, and really amplify the voices of people who aren't heard.

Can you talk a little bit about Student Senate

This will be my third year in Student Senate. One of the things I would have to say I love the most is talking to people about their ideas because they have so much passion for what they're trying to achieve. I love giving them the tools for that passion. It’s all about listening to people and hearing their concerns. 

The majority of my job as campus life chair in Student Senate consists of managing the theme houses. Theme houses are off-campus houses that students with a shared interest—a theme—can apply to live in. My job includes budgeting for the theme houses, improving the application process for people to apply, etc. The other tasks that go into my job are everyday things that have to do with student living. For instance, when I receive concerns about dining, I usually take them back to my committee so we can discuss them. I usually take these concerns to Doug Stenfeldt, the general manager of dining services, and we discuss what can be done at the moment. I usually relay any updates or information that I receive from Doug back to the Student Senate. Seeing how I can show meaningful, impactful change to the students really brings me joy.

Through KnoxCorps, you had an internship with United Way. What did you enjoy about your internship?

I loved the fact that the job was diverse in that I was never doing anything twice. Some days I could be passing out flyers, and other days I could be making sure people had access to phone numbers or organizations that could be useful to them. The thing that I loved most was my collaboration with the Southside Task Force—an organization within Galesburg focusing on the south side. Every day, I saw people coming together trying to make a change in our community, one step at a time, whether that was creating parades or organizing events where people come together to give feedback about what they want in the city of Galesburg.

What did you enjoy about track and field when you were on the team?

I joined track my first year. I stopped late in my sophomore year because of a leg injury. The main thing I love about track and field is the community. Shoutout to Coach Wells. He is fantastic and an amazing coach. He was my main coach for the majority of my season, and I really appreciate the atmosphere of a track team. I’ve had my track friends for a long time, and I can go to them for anything. It's not just a sport; it's a family. I enjoyed that aspect. While we're enhancing our abilities, we're also laughing and winning races. Even if we didn't win a race, at the end of day, we still love each other and support each other. What I miss most about track is that support system.

We heard you enjoy writing in your free time. What do you write? Are these published anywhere? 

No, they're not published. The majority of the work that I finish is poems. Writing gives me a way to express myself. With all the things I'm doing on campus, I need that time to be free with my thoughts, and jot down what I'm really thinking. 

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Printed on Friday, July 19, 2024