Student Body Presidential candidate Jacob Thompson wants to secure the favor and votes of the student body, but not in the ways one may be used to.
“I’m doing things a little bit differently ... I'm trying to run a personal campaign where I can listen to as many people as possible,” Thompson said. “I'm not gonna have a huge social media outburst and just flood your social media. I want people to know that I actually care about their voice.”
Unlike the other presidential candidates this week, the third-year political science student wasn’t inspired to run by past experiences in Student Government.
“I applied for freshman council my freshman year and wasn’t able to get it,” Thompson said. “I found my niche in government internships. I was fortunate enough my freshman year to work at the mayor’s office, and that really gave me a good idea of public service and kind of what I wanted to do with my life.”
Thompson said his various experiences working in government, including internships for the mayor, district attorney and senator, instilled him with a sense of compassion and a desire to serve others which he views as much needed in politics.
“I feel like some people in government don't really focus on the person and how people view things ... and talking to as many people as you can to see what’s really going on at the university and how you can improve it,” Thompson said.
While Thompson has a strong vision for what he wants his campaign to be, the decision to run for president was a spur of the moment decision. Thompson said he decided to run his campaign the day of registration after hearing business attorney Reshma Saujani speak on National Public Radio's “On Point” about the liberating power of running for elected office. Saujani ran for and lost the Democratic seat during the primaries for the House of Representatives in New York’s fourteenth district but described the campaign process as a formative experience.
“That really resonated with me, because I know I couldn’t just sit on my couch and let my ideas go to waste," Thompson said. "I just decided to pull the trigger. I felt like God really sent me a message that morning.”
After that, Thompson decided to register his campaign despite having just one friend serve as a staffer and making his roommate and best friend, Nolan Andrews, his campaign manager.
Andrews, a third-year real estate student, described Thompson's campaign goals as straightforward.
“He doesn’t want it to be fake. He wants it to be real, and he wants people to vote for him because he walked up to them and shook his hand and they had a genuine conversation,” Andrews said. “He’s just a very simple, down-to-earth guy who wants to help, and thinks that he can help.”
Thompson hopes to formulate his platform based on personal conversations with students about what issues they think are most important on campus. Currently, some of the issues he’s chosen to focus on are substance abuse recovery and financial efficacy for students.
“I’m running for student body president definitely to spread ideas, definitely to figure out the university, because I think that’s an aspect that’s been lost about all this campaigning and everything that’s going on in this university,” Thompson said. “I feel like voices of the university should be heard more.”
Jack Fallon, a third-year psychology student and campaign staffer for Thompson, believes that personal characteristics of sincerity and genuine care for other people that he sees in Thompson will enable him to be a good leader of the student body.
“He just cares about this university so much. He cares about the people here, he wants the best for them, he recognizes the changing of the times, and he knows he can tell which issues are prevalent,” Fallon said.
When asked if he was running primarily in hopes winning or in hopes of acting as a representative for the university, Thompson emphasized the importance of the students’ voices.
“I want to talk to them and I want to hear what they got," Thompson said. "Because at the end of the day, it’s not about me running for president, it’s about the issues that everyone else faces."