Shannon Booker: A shark with a smile

You’ve probably seen his name in your inbox, telling you about the next involvement opportunity on campus. Or maybe you’ve seen him in person dancing at Sharkapalooza or running in between events, always with a smile on his face. Shannon Booker, assistant director of Campus Life and Student Engagement, has garnered a reputation for being the upbeat go-getter we all know.

“People always ask me ‘don’t you ever get mad?’” said Booker. “Of course I get upset about different things, but when I’m out in the public with people, they don’t need to know what’s going on. People don’t realize a person’s mood can affect another’s.”

Booker said that he likes to keep a positive energy and interact with students at NSU. He doesn’t want to be seen as the “assistant director”” but as Shannon, someone who understands and cares about the students.

And he does. As an undergraduate, Booker said that he was a super involved student. He was involved in hall council, freshman council for SGA, Phi Beta Sigma, campus life, orientation, residence life and the summer bridge program.

“It reflected in my grades,” he chuckled. He said that’s why he always tries to advise students based on his own experience.

“It’s good to be involved, and my job is to push involvement, but it’s also good to have a balance,” he said.

But NSU isn’t the only place Booker lends his help and guidance. Every afternoon, you’ll find him at the University School, coaching either sixth grade football or acting as assistant coach for middle and high school track and field.

“I love those kids, and it’s a change of pace,” said Booker, who’s always had a passion for working with the youth. “The U-school kids, they’re excited for life.”

Booker credited his community involvement to his parents, particularly his mother, who ran in-home childcare for almost 30 years.

“I look at my mom like the community mom. She’s the mom you see on TV shows where everyone goes to her house and she knows everyone, ” he said.

When Booker isn’t swinging with Sharks or coaching U-school students, he said you might find him out for a run, one of his favorite hobbies. He said it’s a great way to clear his mind and de-stress.

“It’s like the Forrest Gump movie, I just feel like running,” he laughed.

But don’t let the cardio fool you, Booker said he loves to eat junk food, and you’ll find him at Wendy’s at least three times a week. His go-to? The 4-for-$4 deal.

“I always have my $4.24 ready,” he said.

And though he’s known for hyping students up, he said he’s often pretty relaxed and mellow at home. The proof hung just above his head, three paintings that Booker made at Paints ‘N Cocktails. Booker said his other five creations are hung around his house.

“It’s just something fun to do, and I’m proud of my work,” he said.

But Booker said his real guilty pleasure is reality TV. It was hard for him to choose a favorite but he listed “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” “Love & Hip-hop” and “Big Brother” as some of the best. Of course, he isn’t opposed to a Lifetime biopic or Hallmark Christmas movie either.

All TV drama aside, Booker’s real passion is helping others, and he said since coming to NSU five years ago, he’s never looked back.

“It’s definitely been an exciting journey. I’m in my tenth year in higher education,” he said. “Being an employee during the first 50 years of NSU is an honor within itself.”

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