The Daily Gamecock

Students feel out of touch with Student Government elections

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Student Government campaign season is in full swing as voting continues Wednesday. 

Candidates publicized their campaigns over the course of the last two weeks by posting on various social media outlets, speaking at club meetings and tabling on Greene Street.

However, many students are still unaware of the candidates’ platforms. In fact, many students are very unsure of who to vote for or even who the candidates are.

Dana Berry, a second-year media arts student, said she hasn't had a chance to follow the tickets closely, but she kept up with what she could on social media.

“I’ve seen a couple of videos on Barstool about a treasurer," Berry said. "One was a girl, and that’s all I know. That’s it.”

Berry was referring to student body treasurer candidate Kate Lewis.

Shelby Johnson, a second-year visual communications student, found out about the Rankin-Lewis ticket through social media as well. Although Johnson said she does not know much about the platform, she would recognize Lewis if she had an interaction with her.

Other students said the campaign marketing was not broad enough to reach a large part of the student body. Sydney Blair, a second-year psychology student, has only heard from some of the candidates.

“I know a little bit because we had a few speakers come in during our chapter, but we actually had technical difficulties with some of the videos, so we didn’t even get to finish them,” Blair said. “I don’t really know enough, I think, to vote.”

Blair also said if candidates had utilized email to get information across, they would get more publicity. Blair said she doesn’t believe that any of her friends will be voting, either.

Similarly, second-year biomedical engineering student Alex Stevens said she's seen a few posts about presidential candidate Patrick Ellis. She doesn't know much about his platform or his fellow ticket members either, she said.

“[I saw] the video of him and the three other people whose names I forget. It looks cool ... but I don’t actually know anything about them yet or their ideas,” Stevens said. “I’ve seen others, but I don’t remember their names.”

Raven Walters, a first-year biology student, said she recognizes the candidates but is still, like many others, unsure of the platform initiatives.

“I feel like I don’t really know anything about it, as a freshman," Walters said. "It's just like, oh, somebody's posting about, 'Oh, I'm running for elections,' but you don’t know anything about what they're doing, what they do for the school.” 

Walters said she is familiar with speaker of the senate candidate Nick Hooks and presidential candidate Lyric Swinton but does not know what they plan to do if elected.

Walters was able to get most of her information from Twitter. She said she has heard the most about Swinton and will probably be casting her vote for the Fuse campaign.

“I really like Lyric Swinton, just because I’ve been hearing a lot about her ever since I stepped foot on this campus. I’ve heard so much about what she's done last year and her TED Talk,” Walters said. 

Swinton said her campaign staff has been trying to ensure that every aspect of campus is being reached out to in a variety of different ways. Additionally, she said she is a firm believer that facial interaction holds lots of weight in getting across a message. Her leadership experience on campus makes her a recognizable name to the public, she said.

“It’s a lot easier to connect with students when you already have a previous relationship. Word of mouth is always going to be your best thing," Swinton said. "If you can make people excited about an idea and if you can make people really believe in what you have going on, then they’re gonna tell a friend and they're gonna tell a friend and they're gonna tell a friend, and that person-to-person contact is still so valuable.”

Luke Rankin, another presidential candidate, shared thoughts that directly parallel those of Swinton. Rankin emphasized the importance of approachability as part of his campaign.

"If you’re only on social media and you're not approachable in person, there’s a disconnect,” Rankin said. “Your first and foremost priority should be being able to talk to students in person, being approachable, but then, utilizing this to get your platform out.”