Student Government elections have seen several weeks of the candidates advertising their planned initiatives and goals, but not every student initiative begins with Student Government.
For Ngozi Chukwueke, a Gamecock Gateway and first-year hospitality management student, her initiative began with a problem and a desire to fix it.
Living in Bates House, she gets on the shuttle at 7:15 a.m. every morning to get to her 8 a.m. classes at Midlands Technical College. However, the breakfast at Bates Diner used to not begin until 7:30 a.m., meaning that Gateway students like her would miss a hot breakfast on mornings that they had 8 a.m. classes.
“I feel like it’s really important to help us key in in the mornings and be able to learn properly,” said Chukwueke.
“It kind of started through [Freshman Council], because that’s how I knew who to talk to off the bat, but after that, it kind of became an individual project,” Chukwueke said.
Student Body Vice President Ross Lordo put Chukwueke in touch with Sodexo, and after several meetings, Sodexo agreed to serve a hot breakfast starting at 6:30 a.m. for the Gateway students.
Although she admitted that her initiative was somewhat unconventional, she felt that it was significant because “it was definitely something that affected first-year students.”
Chukwueke has also worked on other initiatives through Freshman Council, such as guest tickets to football games. She had planned to run for student senate this year but was told that she is ineligible due to her status as a Gateway student.
“I was upset about that, of course. There’s not really much you can do in that situation, so I try not to dwell on it,” Chukwueke said.
She added that she is planning to stay involved with Student Government, although she doesn’t plan to run for senate again. Instead, Chukwueke said she hopes to find a position in one of the executive offices of Student Government after the election.
Ultimately, one of Chukwueke’s main goals with her involvement on campus is to increase the visibility of Gamecock Gateway students at USC.
“I feel like it’s not customary for a Gateway student to get involved with Student Government or be this deeply engaged with the university,” Chukwueke said.
She also highlighted representation for Gateway students as one of her main achievements this year.
“A lot of people don’t even know we have a bridge program. They don’t know that Gamecock Gateway exists. It’s just been really cool to get people to see our side of things,” Chukwueke said.