The Daily Gamecock

Letter to the editor: Former Student Body President Luke Rankin reflects on 2019-2020 school year

Headshot of Luke Rankin. Rankin served as student body president 2019-2020.
Headshot of Luke Rankin. Rankin served as student body president 2019-2020.

To the class of 2021,

Congratulations! This is the time to reflect on your time here at the University of South Carolina, celebrate your incredible accomplishments and plan for the next chapter of your lives. You are all standing at the precipice of the beginning of the rest of your lives. I know this road may seem daunting and you are uncertain of what is next, but don’t worry — we all have those feelings when we close one chapter and begin another.

You all have had an irreplaceable experience as Gamecocks. This past year is undoubtedly one of the strangest times the education landscape has ever seen. You all have faced challenges and obstacles that you never imagined you would, but here you are today… standing strong and proving your success, as you prepare to walk across the stage in Williams-Brice in May.

The lessons you all have learned from your successes and mistakes will propel you forward and keep you grounded as you step into the world after graduation. I know that you all have overcome hardships, while learning in less than ideal circumstances. Don’t forget this fact the next time you face adversity.

When I think of the defining moments over the years we spent together and the time, more specifically, we shared as I served as your student body president, I am overwhelmed with memories and emotion. We celebrated together over many incredible and groundbreaking achievements, but we also faced no shortage of adversity. We worked to support one another after the tragic loss of our friends and peers, such as Samantha Josephson. We continued to fight for increased rideshare safety, and today we see "Sami's Law" enacted to do just that.

We worked together to make our parking more efficient and accessible through multiple kiosks in Bull Street Garage with increased payment options and our Purple Heart parking recognition for our student veterans. We enhanced and increased our study space through a much-needed renovation in Thomas Cooper Library. We worked to elevate the student voice as we welcomed a new university president and a new university provost — our first African American one in our history, at that.

We brought underrepresented groups to the decision making process through the creation of new positions, such as secretary of CarolinaLIFE, as Student Government strived to represent all of our students. We celebrated our women’s basketball team excelling at highest levels as they won countless championships, and we celebrated our football victory over Georgia between the hedges. Most importantly, we stood strong when times were tough. We leaned on each other and fought to support one other because we came to know just how much our Carolina family means to us.

Your memories at Carolina will serve you well as you embark on the next chapter of your life. Never forget them, and always know USC is here to welcome you back.

Forever to thee class of 2021,

Luke Rankin

Student body president 2019-2020