PEMBROKE — Harrison Pegram has always been business minded.
At 14, he was selling refurbished golf balls on eBay. His weekends were spent bargain hunting at flea markets and yard sales. Anything to turn a profit.
By the time he graduated high school, the number of eBay transactions swelled to 2,600. A pretty lucrative gig that allowed the budding entrepreneur to save enough money to buy a car.
Today, Pegram is focused on broadening his knowledge of trade and enterprise as a junior in the School of Business at UNC Pembroke. During his college career, the Greensboro native has discovered a new passion.
A love for service.
“I’ve always had a business mind, but since I’ve been at UNCP I have developed a service heart,” he said. “When I was accepted here I told myself that I wasn’t going to school just to be a student — I want to be a student leader.”
Since stepping foot on campus as a freshman, Pegram has thrust himself in campus and community-wide causes. As a student leader in the Office for Community and Civic Engagement, he has expanded UNCP’s number of community partnerships, managed the online UNCP Serve volunteer system, and led a group of students on an alternative fall break experience in Black Mountain where they addressed issues such as homelessness and adoption.
He has also found time to create UNCP Votes! — a non-partisan project designed to engage his fellow students in voting. In 2016, he and a team of students registered 200 students, garnered 600 voting pledges and held 11 voter engagement events.
“I have come to recognize that a lot of people have a voice and opinions,” he said. “If these people are voting then their voices are being heard. So I am trying to organize individuals to ensure they are being heard.”
For his outstanding leadership, Pegram was presented the Community Impact Award from North Carolina Campus Compact.
Dalton Hoffer, assistant director for Student Engagement, said it’s rare for the Office for Community and Civic Engagement to hire a freshman. That was before he met Pegram.
“Harrison is a leader and role model for his peers and youth in the community,” he said. “His ability to make connections and build relationships with others is astonishing.
“Not only does he grasp the importance of his own education, but he understands how he can use his skills and knowledge to benefit others.”
Pegram’s activism isn’t limited to campus. An internship with the town of Pembroke allowed him to have a direct impact in the community, as well.
Last summer he developed a marketing packet to attract new business while shadowing Town Manager Tyler Thomas.
“With a town this size, it’s so easy to get involved,” Pegram said. “I have a lot of ideas about what I want to do after I graduate. I want to go to grad school or find a job with the town. I feel indebted to this community and this university.”
Mark Locklear is a Public Relations specialist at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.