The Daily Gamecock

SG candidates kick off campaigns

Aspiring officers rally support, outline platforms

Student Body presidential candidate Joe Wright kicked off his campaign in a casual swing with his first official campaign rally in the Honors Residence from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday night.

Campaign followers and curious onlookers stopped in to listen to musical performances from USC’s Soundcheck and Ned Durrett and the Kindly Gents, and also receive a dose of Wright’s campaign message, “Ignite Carolina,” as he launched his first endorsement video.

Wright took advantage of the public event to mingle with students, listen to their concerns and promote his platform.

“I’m really blessed to have had such great support,” Wright said. “I’ve been able to talk to a lot of honors students, and I’m really excited. Many of them don’t know how the whole election process works yet, and I’m hoping that now they’ll be inspired to get engaged.”

Vice presidential candidate Sen. Katie Thompson made an appearance at the event, after hosting her own kickoff event earlier at Pearlz Oyster Bar in the Vista and speaking at the Carolina Debate Union.

“This evening has been exactly what I needed; it’s given me a chance to relax before the rest of the campaign,” Thompson said.

Current Student Body Vice President Taylor Cain was present at both events to endorse Thompson and Wright.

“It’s bittersweet for me to be finishing up this year, but it’s very exciting to see who will be taking up responsibility when we’re gone,” Cain said. “I’ve seen both [Thompson and Wright] grow into fantastic leaders, and I can’t wait to see what they can do next year.”

Thompson’s opponent, VP candidate Sen. John Cuenin, also attended Wright’s rally. Cuenin said he will be hosting his own campaign rally next week.

“This was a really cool idea on Joe’s part,” Cuenin said. “We’re really trying to push student involvement this year, especially because we need votes to enact the new constitutional change [to create a bicameral legislature]. I think events like this really speak students’ language, and it’s a good opportunity to talk to students about things they can relate to.”

Students passing through the Honors Residence, who said they’d previously known little about the upcoming elections, also said they were impressed by the level of outreach exhibited by Student Government candidates at the rally.

“I was surprised by the campaigning in general,” second-year biology student Elisabeth Oliver said after she and her friends were approached by Wright outside the Honors dining hall. “The fact that he was just going up and talking to people shows dedication. It shows he’s serious, and he’s doing more to get to know people, instead of just putting up signs.”

Third-year visual communications student Alexandria Cherry, a resident mentor at the Honors Residence, said the idea behind the event could inspire more students to participate in this year’s election.

“It was definitely a good way to mix politics and entertainment and bring in unusual groups,” Cherry said. “It went beyond the politics, and it’ll get me to look into other issues for the elections.”