National Presidential Inaugural student volunteer recognized

David Rawles, TSU SGA President

They don’t call David Rawles ‘Mr. President’ for nothing.

The Tennessee State University Student Government Association leader has some connections—and strong ones, too.

At age 22, when most of his peers are still trying to get their bearings, Rawles has already played major roles in key events in the nation’s corridors of power.

Does ‘national inaugural volunteer’ sound like fun?

“Yes, and it comes with a lot of work but definitely a confidence builder and hope for the future,” said the Washington, D.C. native, who graduates in December with a degree in ‘business administration’ with a ‘supply chain’ concentration.

For the second time in this young man’s short life, he served as a volunteer for Barack Obama’s presidential inaugural, working along side security personnel, National Park Service workers and other crowd-control volunteers to ensure invited guests and ticket holders are directed to their assigned areas.

“The first time I was not even old enough to vote,” Rawles said. “But this time around the experience was very fulfilling, because I voted. And although being a volunteer is non-political, working this inaugural made my vote all the more meaningful.”

And the extra perks? Wow!

What about getting up close to see the president, actually talking with top dignitaries, or attending the inaugural and special event balls where you rub shoulders with some of the biggest stars in the world?

“I saw Jamie Foxx, fashion model Tyson Beckford and comedian Wayne Brady up close at the BET ball,” said a beaming Rawles about some of the celebrities he encountered.

More than anything else, Rawles said the memory, a once-in-a-lifetime experience, would linger forever.

“I feel very fortunate at this time in my life to have an experience of being a part of not just one, but two presidential inaugurals,” said Rawles, who was assigned to the ‘Jump Team,’ a group from which volunteers are randomly called and sent to provide assistance in various areas of the inaugural activities.

“On the Jump Team you are on call to cover different areas. The first time I had a special assignment that kept me just seats away from the main events,” Rawles said.

Asked how he was selected (not once but twice to serve at Obama’s inaugurals), Rawls said: “I just got a call each time [from his D.C. connections] that I had been selected and to be ready to report.”

Now, that’s ‘having connections that matter.’