Hamilton Smith is a senior marketing major with a global business minor. He is from Anderson, Indiana and is also the current president of AU’s Student Government Association. This summer, Hamilton traveled around the world as part of a global business summer program.
Q: Why did you choose to study marketing and global business?
A: Truthfully, the reason I chose marketing is because I took a marketing class in high school. It was in that class that I was exposed to economic development and worked on a project with a city. That was the first time I was exposed to the business side of things and really liked it.
Q: Speaking of your interest in business, you recently traveled with a business organization right?
A: Yeah; with my global business minor, one of the opportunities we have is with the International Business Institute, a global business program that is owned by Messiah College in Pennsylvania. They advertize to all in coalition of Christian colleges.
Q: How did you find out about this program?
A: It’s actually in the course handbook and you can take the same classes in a semester or over the summer with IBI. I just applied and got accepted, so I traveled through 12 countries in 10 weeks and took four classes about global business. I would sit in on presentations from global managers, global marketers, economists and local business owners. The trip was divided very well. We had the touristy parts and we had the business parts, and we experienced it all. We went sightseeing and saw the most beautiful places of the world, but we would also have three to four days a week where we sat in classes for eight hours. I went with 45 students from other colleges and we traveled through Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
Q: What did this summer and your experience teach you?
A: I learned that there is opportunity everywhere in the world, and I wouldn’t have been able to understand that without traveling to these places. It seemed like there was an absence of borders because there were so many different cultures and people everywhere you went. It was crazy. It really affirmed the necessity for global business and the necessity to get along with one another. Without travel and being able to interact with one another, the world would crumble. And that’s what’s so important to realize. I hadn’t really traveled internationally before this. One of the coolest things was seeing the Bible written in other languages and attending different kinds of church services. It was so cool to see Christianity everywhere.
Q: Learning a lot from your travel, what are you bringing to the table this year as SGA president?
A: I brought back with me an authentic appreciation for people in all walks of life, all cultures and all religions. My goal this year is to make SGA a working part of this campus that people are excited about and want to participate in.
Q: What made you want to be president?
A: Honestly, it took me my whole freshman year to buy into AU and appreciate it for what it is, the people, the values, what it teaches. Once I did, everything changed and I tried to get involved with everything. That came naturally because it’s what I wanted to do. This campus has a place in my heart. When people love something, they want to know how they can contribute, and I had dreams for this campus and what it could be. That’s what drove me. I want to use my dreams and ambitions to change this place.
Q: Student body president is a big role; what is your background with politics?
A: From a young age my dad had been involved in local politics, from county counsel to being in city government. Growing up with that, it taught me the basics. I learned through several campaigns what it takes to deliver a message and to truly reach the people of your city. Reaching people starts with knocking on doors and hosting events. I learned what a campaign was and participated in forums and learned about flyers. It taught me what integrity is in a public office. People are always watching what you’re doing and you need to operate with a high morale. My dad told me not to get into politics when you’re young. He said to make sure you have a career and that your family is taken care of so that when someone comes to you with an unethical proposition, you can say no and not have to worry.
Q: What political positions has your dad been in?
A: Most recently he was the mayor of Anderson for two terms. He now works as an investigator for the prosecutor’s office.
Q: Growing up, did you have to go to his events?
A: All the time. I loved going, but I think that’s my personality. I love interacting with people and getting to know them.
Q: With your family history of politics and the knowledge you’ve gained from your experience, you’re set to lead this campus. What are some changes SGA is implementing this year?
A: We are putting a large emphasis on social media this year because we realize this has been a problem. We have to reach people and social media is one way to do that. If people don’t know what SGA does, then how can we serve them? We have ideas for projects this year, but we aren’t just going to act, we are going to use social media, polls and the office to see what people want done, tangibly.