Student Government Association President Michael Banks wasn’t particularly engaged in campus activities until his junior year, when he started to take an active role in campus organizations.
He joined the Crew, GRU’s main programing body, and from there he caught the involvement bug. A couple of people in the Crew were in student government, so Banks decided to give that a try as well.
Now, he’s president of student government, has been appointed to the USG Search Committee for the next GRU president, and his time is filled with a whole new aspect of student affairs, both here and at the state level.
“Every three months, there’s a student advisory council, so all the student government presidents in Georgia meet and go over the issues,” he said. “Since we’re on the research side now, I can see where the issues are for the research universities in the university system.”
That perspective has given him a unique understanding of the challenges facing all research schools.
“From what I’ve seen from the other institutions, we are sort of a model for different institutions that are now undergoing consolidation,” he said.
A self-proclaimed military brat, Banks was born in Augusta, moved away, and returned for high school. After completing his freshman year elsewhere, he settled on GRU to further his academic studies.
As a founding member of the Clubhou.se, Augusta’s technology-based business and community incubator, Banks was part of the city’s first Hackathon and has also been involved in Augusta’s two TEDx presentations.
Currently a member of the Army Reserve, he plans to keep the Army a part of his life. And though he’s the school’s senior student political figure, he’s not entirely sure if he wants to pursue a political life.
“I’m sort of mixed,” he admitted. “I used to want to be a lawyer, but more and more IT is catching my attention. I still find policy and government interesting, though, so that’s definitely part of the mix.”
While Banks might have been slow to embrace all the additional opportunities GRU offers, he has become an example for other students looking to pack more involvement into their time at school. In a way, his story has mirrored the last few years of the school itself.
“GRU has been slow getting an identity, and I think that’s something that will only take time to solve,” he said. “It will be interesting to see the way GRU transitions.”