Some North Carolina State University students like to spend their free time playing sports. Others like to go to parties or hang out with friends.
Its different for Zack Hester, a junior in engineering and political science. Hester spends some of his free time volunteering for his favorite political figures -- including U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, U.S. Rep. Brad Miller and N.C. Sen. Kay Hagan, candidate for U.S. Senate.
Im interested in science, technology and public policy, Hester said.
He is also a Benjamin Franklin Scholar, a scholar program which is designed to help students achieve a duel degree in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the College of Engineering.
Hester said he first became interested in politics at a young age because of his father.
My father as always been interested in politics and American history, and got me interested, Hester said.
Hester has been working with Millers campaign team for about two months now. Miller is a Democrat representing North Carolinas 13th district.
I like how he votes on most issues, Hester said.
Miller is also on the House Science Technology committee, which Hester said appeals to his own interests.
I want to be involved where I can help, Hester said.
In a typical day, Hester helps make and deliver yard signs, calls voters in Millers district and does other odd jobs for four or five hours a week.
They need someone to do the work I do, Hester said. I do things thateveryone else is too busy to do.
And Miller said Hester's work is appreciated.
I count on those yard signs as a visible show of support from voters inevery campaign Ive ever run, Miller said. Volunteers like Zack play an important role in field work, and Im thankful he is choosing to spend his free time to help re-elect me to Congress.
Volunteering now may prove beneficial for Hester, who could see himself in politics some day. It provides him with experience and connections that could help him in the future. You never know what opportunity is going to come up, Hester said.
Volunteering has also been a learning experience for Hester. Coming to NCSU from Marion, S.C., he said he was not familiar with the Raleigh area.
This campaign has allowed me to travel in and around the city, while getting to know local leaders and learning about my new community, Hester said.
Hester said the best part about volunteering is having a United States congressman so easily accessible to answer questions about national issues.
He also experiences how the campaign decides to advertise and has stood watch during a photo shoot with Miller.
When not volunteering for his favorite politicians, Hester said enjoys exercising, playing tennis or socializing with friends.
Hester said he would encourage students who support candidates running in this November's election to volunteer for their campaigns.
Volunteering lets you connect in a real way," he said. "If you are passionate about issues and there are candidates that support those issues, you should help them."