June 22nd, 2011

David OlsenDavid Olsen is a rising junior majoring in business administration and minoring in Spanish at Birmingham-Southern College.  David, a Madison native, is a member of BSC’sHess Fellows program, which places students for eight weeks during the summer to work as full-time staff members at leading advocacy organizations.

We sat down with David last week for a introductory conversation.  Here’s what he had to say:

What have you liked about Birmingham so far?

When I first got to Birmingham, I thought it was a “used-to-be” city without a future. However, as I got involved in the community, I became more attracted to the city.

Birmingham has an inspirational story that continues. Parts of this city are struggling but many parts are booming. Many people here believe the future is bright.

What brought you to the Alabama Poverty Project?

Poverty is a phenomenon that you see everywhere. I’ve always wanted to learn more and do something about it. My perspective changed when I took a class called “Poverty in America.” When the opportunity came to work at APP for the summer, I knew that I would learn even more about the issue and do some work that leads to someday eliminating it.

How do you think you’ve changed since you moved to Birmingham and began attending Birmingham-Southern?

First, I now love learning. I love going to class (no matter the discipline). It has become a lifestyle that has permeated all my activities and conversations.

Also, I’ve grown a lot spiritually and personally as I’ve learned how Christ has called us to live and interact together.

You’re a business major at BSC. Why business? Do you think that most business majors support the elimination of poverty through public policy?

My choice to study business was a gut move. The first class I walked into freshman year was the most thought-provoking class I have ever taken. It’s all about what role businesses play in society and what their goals are. Each class was a discussion of business, philosophy, and ethics. It was the best class to start college with.

Businesses run our economy. Depending on their size, they have a varying degree of power. Some choose to promote their own self-interest alone, sometimes in opposition to the public’s interest. However, many choose to use their resources to do a lot of good in their community.

What’s your favorite movie?

Any Pixar movie. Their animated films are fun and light-hearted but also very dramatic and artistic.

What’s your favorite restaurant in Birmingham?

Jim N’ Nicks!

Can you see yourself staying in Alabama after undergrad?

Definitely! I’ve already expressed my love for Birmingham.

Who is your favorite television character ever?

Charlie from Lost. He was instantly likeable and his heroic death was very moving.