Lyric Swinton decided to run for student body president while making a bowl of ramen.
"I was standing over the microwave on the phone, and I said, 'you know what,' I said, 'let's do it.' And I wish I could say it was ... a big reveal, but it was literally just me standing over a microwave,” said Swinton.
Now, the current secretary of inclusion and equity has joined ranks with vice presidential candidate Sophie Davish in this year's Student Government elections to run on an all-female ticket as the sole female presidential candidate.
Swinton expressed excitement at her prospects, but she also said she's nervous at the thought of running for Student Body President, as she comes from a different background than her predecessors. Her socioeconomic standing and background is not shared by her fellow candidates, she said.
“I knew that I had something to offer,” Swinton said. “You don’t see first generation college students running, just because its just something that's been so unattainable for such a long time."
For Swinton, a Columbia native and first generation college student, attending a university was the sole focus of high school. Because of this, she didn’t think about what she was going to do after acceptance, and thus gained experience in many career opportunities. She said ultimately her interests came together in her sports and entertainment management major.
“College itself was always the goal for me,” Swinton said. “I think that I hadn’t really worked out what I wanted to do once I get there ... I used to talk about college all the time as a child, like college ... was going to be this big dream world.”
In her years at USC Swinton has had the opportunity to experience all aspects of student life. Finding her passions in interests such as sports and music, Swinton said she is driven to bring all students together in her campaign.
“I‘ve worked with athletes, I’ve worked with freshmen, I’ve worked with people from multicultural organizations, I’ve worked with people from political organizations," Swinton said. "All four councils, pre-professional, musical, I’ve worked with theatre kids, I've worked with the musical kids ... I’ve been exposed to all of these different people and I knew exactly what each of them wanted."
Swinton’s background also influenced her choice of a running mate. Davish, current chief of staff for Vice President Mills Hayes, has a background in programming and sorority life. The pair became friends at this past summer’s SEC exchange conference and soon sought one another out to become running mates.
“I texted Lyric and I just asked her to get coffee with me,” Davish said. “I don’t think either of us really knew what the other one was going to say ... and I think at one point I just blurted out ‘I really want to run for vice president and if I was going to run, I'd want to do it with you’. And Lyric literally screamed in Cool Beans ... we looked ridiculous. She's like, ‘I’m running for president and you are the only person I'd want to be my vice president’.”
The pair‘s collaboration inspired the name of their campaign — Fuse. Swinton and Davish said that together they hope to bring all corners of campus in communication with one another.
”Lyric and Sophie bring two very different things to campus and to Student Government, and it's kind of the fusion of all of those different parts of campus,” said Shannen Cloherty, the Fuse campaign manager.
Now, in her final semesters at USC, Swinton said she’s most proud to see her family excel in college. When her brother attends university, she said he will no longer have to feel like a first generation college student. Swinton said she wants to give the opportunities she’s been given back to students like her.
“If it wasn’t for this university ... I don’t even know where I would be – I wouldn't be in college, that's for sure, I surely couldn’t afford it,” Swinton said. “This opportunity has been everything, its made me into a woman, its made me into an activist, its made me into an advocator for other people’s rights, realizing that it's not just about me. It's really hard to put into words what this university truly means to me.”