This year, The Daily Gamecock is not doing endorsements. Instead, we asked the six Student Government executive candidates to send us a pitch on why students should vote for them.
Samantha Mayberry, president
My name is Sam Mayberry, and I am so proud to be running to be your next student body president. It’s surreal to finally be saying that, as this has been a dream of mine since I stepped foot on this campus a short three years ago. During my time at Carolina, I have been involved in many different areas of campus that have given me the opportunity to meet so many amazing people. The most important thing that I have taken away from my involvement in these organizations is that there is no stereotypical Carolinian. We are all unique, dynamic individuals who deserve to have our voices heard and our needs met.
I am one person, one student at the University of South Carolina, among thousands of others. I know that my experience has not been the same as everyone else’s, but that is why I am promising you that I will listen with nothing but the most genuine intentions. Alongside my running mate Zach Crawford, we have already taken the initial steps to Embrace Change, Engage the Student Body and Empower Every Voice by creating a platform that is based solely on the countless conversations we have had with our peers.
As student body president, the Mental Health Bill of Rights and The Inclusion and Equity Promise are two of the first initiatives that I will tackle. They will create sincere, positive change on our campus to ensure that every student is supported and safe in ways that our university seems to be lacking today. You can find more information about our platform on our website, mayberrycrawford.com. I am humbled to share my passion for this university with you and hope that you will consider me when voting for student body president.
Issy Rushton, president
My name is Issy Rushton, and as a proud Carolinian, I am running for student body president. When I moved to South Carolina from the Gold Coast, Australia, I was unsure of what the future would hold. Through my involvement in Student Government, I have been given the opportunity to leave a lasting impact on every Gamecock student. Serving on the student body president’s executive cabinet as the secretary of first year involvement, I’m passionate about the Gamecock Experience, the Student Voice and Campus Convenience.
As tenants of the Envision Movement, these pillars of change are at the foundation of our campaign. As a university ambassador alongside my running mate, Hannah White, I have been able to lead prospective students and hear their passion for the future. As a presidential ambassador, I have a working relationship with not only administration, but with President Caslen. This role has allowed me to grow in my knowledge of the university and the impact that decisions have on the student experience.
This past year, I was also honored to lead over 400 women as the Alpha Chi Omega chapter president. This experience allowed for my leadership skills to flourish and translate directly into the role of student body president. As a passionate leader, I’m invested in ensuring that every Carolinian feels seen, heard and that they can have a direct impact on their college experience.
With my love for this university and a leadership background that has touched various corners of campus, I am prepared and excited for the Envision Movement to work for the students. Join me in Envisioning a greater Carolina with myself, Issy Rushton, as your next student body president and Hannah White as your next student body vice president as we improve Gamecock Experience, amplify Student Voice and enhance Campus Convenience!
Zachary Crawford, vice president
My name is Zach Crawford, and I am running to be your next student body vice president. As a freshman, if you would have asked me if I planned on running for Student Government executive office, I would have simply disregarded the question. But, the last three years have taught me that life does not always work out how you think it will. However, I have chosen to invest my time on campus in ways that have allowed me to come to a deeper understanding of what it means to be a Carolinian.
I am one of the many students who come from a background that is not traditionally represented in the college experience. This has influenced every step I have taken and decision made since becoming a Gamecock. I know what it feels like to be undeserved and left behind by the institution that we choose to call our own. That is why my promise to you does not stem from the events that I plan to host or the programming that will come out of my office.
The platform that my running mate, Sam Mayberry, and I have written will thrive when we are elected because at the root of it is the student voice. We have very specific tasks that we will accomplish, such as writing the Mental Health Bill of Rights, the Finish in 4 advising overhaul and establishing The Inclusion and Equity Promise. But the thing that matters the most to us is the ability to Embrace Change, Engage the Student Body and Empower Every Voice. I am honored to be a candidate for student body vice president and hope that you will consider me when voting on February 25 and 26.
Hannah White, vice president
My name is Hannah White, and as a proud Carolinian, I am running for student body vice president. I believe my experiences both on and off-campus make me the best candidate for this role. I knew when I came to USC that I wanted to get involved and leave a lasting impact on this campus.
I initially joined Student Government and became a university ambassador. As a university ambassador, I show potential students all that Carolina has to offer and get to see first-hand where we can improve the Gamecock Experience. Concurrently, I am a member of Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. I started in Student Government when I joined freshman council and served on the inclusion and equity committee.
This year, I am the director of programming under the student body vice president, Sophie Davish. I provide USC students with events and initiatives to help grow and improve the community. In my role, I am responsible to work closely with the vice president to amplify student voices through programming and initiatives. I have the opportunity with and without Sophie to work with students and administrators to implement programs here on campus. Through this role, I have seen first-hand what is required to make a successful student body vice president.
Overall, my goal is to invest in the university that has poured so much into me. I believe my passion for this university and this community, in addition to my diverse experience and background, make me the best candidate for student body vice president. Join me in Envisioning a greater Carolina with myself, Hannah White, as your next student body vice president and Issy Rushton as your next student body president as we improve Gamecock Experience, amplify Student Voice and enhance Campus Convenience!
JD Jacobus, speaker of the student senate
I am running for speaker of the student senate because I truly love this university. It has given me a place of belonging, a sense of purpose and has molded me into the leader I am today. I want every student to have as incredible of an experience here at USC as I have had, and I believe this position is the best way for me to make that possible for all Gamecocks.
In order to do this, we must first understand that we have the potential to elevate our student life on campus. Our student experience offers so much here at Carolina, yet there are so many great programs that students are not aware of. As speaker of the student senate, I would intend to make sure all students are better informed about the host of opportunities, programs and experiences available to them not only by Student Government, but by all parts of campus.
This leads into my second prominent goal as speaker, to elevate Student Government. So many students I have spoken with have little knowledge of everything that Student Government does, and I believe that elevating Student Government would allow campus leaders to thrive. As speaker, I would aim to elevate Student Government outreach, inclusion and total campus efforts. Together we must strive for a Student Government that not only better reflects our campus, but is also more involved in our campus.
Finally, we must work to elevate the mental health resources on campus. Our Health Center does great work, but unfortunately many students are unaware of the resources available to them. This is an issue which should be a priority to every student on campus. As speaker, I would hope to work with the Health Center to better promote its initiatives and expand the aid it offers students.
Caden Askew, treasurer
First, thank you to everyone who has supported me during this process. I truly don’t deserve the outpouring of confirmation I have received.
Beginning day one, I will elevate this office’s efficiency, grow its presence and expand its transparency. I firmly believe that the role of the student body treasurer is to encourage the inclusive and impactful use of the funds raised through tuition-related fees. This mandate makes it paramount that these funds are democratically allocated, ensuring that every penny is used in a way that is representative of every voice.
This includes my plan to dissolve some of the red tape around who can access these funds and how to access these funds. I’m currently working with several incumbent senators, among them incumbent finance committee chairwoman Morgan McDonald, on legislation to make the allocation process as accessible as possible.
Part of this plan includes diligently promoting the use of these funds. I plan to increase the visibility of the office through a broader social media presence and, more importantly, human contact. I would love to meet with every organization that invites me to their chapter in an effort to spread awareness about the fund and its numerous uses.
The student activity fund, totaling around $190,000, has never been fully used. It’s my goal to have every penny of the fund allocated back to students. During this past year, working under Student Body Treasurer Kate Lewis, I have seen the power of this process and the opportunities it creates. It’s essential that students capitalize on this opportunity.
I will not stop fighting for organizations that want to use these funds, promoting the tremendous impact of these funds and upholding the exceptionally high standard set by those before me.