Zach McKinley / The Daily Gamecock

Odagis finds his voice as treasurer-elect

Emerson Odagis's four-year plan when he first stepped onto USC's campus had getting elected student body treasurer scheduled for senior year. When he got to know treasurer Stinson Rogers, he put a Post-It on the treasurer's computer that said, "I'll be here in three years."

"He just sent me a text saying, 'You're here in two,'" Odagis said. "I guess I have to reevaluate what else I want to put in my plan."

His path to treasurer was anything but certain, though. In the Feb. 28 election, he came in second place to Wilfredo Anderson, who was only .45 percent away from a win.

"I sat down on the phone with my mom for an hour that night and I was like, 'I don't know what else we can do,'" Odagis said. "She told me, 'You never know what you can do until you do it.'"

Jackie Odagis is a first grade teacher and the daughter of Dutch immigrants. She's also her son's best friend. They talk every day and and she's his biggest role model, he said.

"Her ability to stay calm at all times is something I look up to," Odagis said. "She's someone that is always pushing forward."

During the campaign, Odagis had to push to find his voice, especially for class and organization visits. He also said that he felt he didn't perform his best at the debate.

"I mumble and I don't talk loud," he said. Odagis practiced giving his speeches over and over, especially where to get louder and emphasize certain words. His campaign manager Colin Hungerpiller was the guinea pig and helped perfect the performance.

While the rigors of campaigning for an executive position might have been new to Odagis, being a treasurer certainly won't be. Odagis has aimed to become the treasurer of every group he's a part of since high school. At Owen J. Roberts High School outside Philadelphia, that meant being student body executive treasurer. At USC, it's meant being treasurer of Preston Hall freshman year and now chair of the student senate finance committee.

"What draws me to the finance aspect is everything," he said. "Everything flows through the money."

As a double major in finance and global supply chain operations and management, Odagis wants to be a consultant and help businesses improve their efficiency. He's already got experience with the hands-on aspect of business working as a landscaper at his uncle's business over three summers. 

He mowed and weed-wacked from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the summer heat. But at night, he stayed with his grandma. She had the same positive and supportive attitude as his mom, and before she passed in August, he talked to her multiple times a week.

"That ability to influence others around you in such a positive way is something that hopefully I can take forward in the treasurer's office," he said. "Being able to have those memories is something you can always look back on fondly."

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