Steve Vereen understands if you don’t believe he’s ready for the job. Heck, even Vereen admits he wouldn’t support his own candidacy if he wasn’t involved in SG.
Vereen is the kind of guy you either love or hate. The cliché is necessary because in many ways he is a classic Southern good ole’ boy. Fisherman, sailor, sports fan, Christian, Republican, blonde, handsome — to use another cliché, you know the drill.
And it’s just that background, coupled with a remarkable charisma, that makes you feel that you’re sitting in front of the next governor of our state.
Vereen probably didn’t woo Marcus Lattimore for an endorsement with an impressive track record or substantive proposals, but Vereen hasn’t missed a USC home football game since 2000. Perhaps the student who sat in the stands before Lattimore brought the rest of us back deserves his approval more than any.
When Vereen finally got here in Fall 2008, he rushed the business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi and became the only freshman in his pledge class of nine. He’s worked as a page for state Sen. Luke Rankin and as a clerk for
Sen. Lindsay Graham. At USC, he was an orientation leader this past summer.
Talking one-on-one, Vereen certainly displays the rhetorical ability of a leader, but it’s when he’s defending his record from a barrage of questions that he shines. And that’s exemplary, seeing as the questions asked were deep, and Vereen’s record is shallow.
Vereen’s first position in SG was as a senator for the business school. After an unsuccessful run for vice president last year, Vereen was added by Student Body President Ebbie Yazdani to the SG cabinet as the secretary of Health and Wellness. Yazdani asked him to do a report on the condition and usage of bike racks on campus, and that’s what he’s been “working his butt off” to do ever since.
Vereen said his investigation has uncovered many things about USC’s bike racks, from the alarming (bike racks are falling apart, and students are illegally racking bikes up to light posts) to the obvious (bike racks are packed during lunch time, and the ridership is less during winter). But beyond this report, which Vereen says he’s about to finalize, he hasn’t put a single proposal on Yazdani’s desk.
But the gantlet of questions about his track record did not pierce his affable demeanor or deter him whatsoever. In fact, he even laughed at some inquiries.
That’s not to say that Vereen, if elected, won’t have ambitions beyond two-wheeled transportation, and no, they’re not about tandems. Vereen wants a new gameday shuttle for the Greek Village. He also aims to increase the professionalism of SG. He plans to ensure students dress appropriately at meetings and don’t use curse words when speaking to the media. He seems like the right person for this.
But the issue Vereen consistently returns to is diversity on campus. Along with more diversity fairs on Greene Street, Vereen wants to build a plot. According to him, this is a structure common to many historically black campuses where members of the National Pan-Hellenic Council can paint their colors and letters. Vereen also opposes the cap proposed by state legislators on the number of out-of-state students who can attend USC.
“I find it embarrassing that a state that makes primarily all its profits off of tourism from out-of-state people would dare say we’re going to put a cap on the number of out-of-state students,” Vereen said.
Vereen doesn’t need substance to win votes; many students don’t vote on substance. It may not matter that Vereen’s crowning accomplishment is bike racks. There’s a good chance he’ll be riding on the laurels of his personality and Southern charm.