The executive candidates for Student Government sat down with The Daily Gamecock and SGTV to explain their goals for the position and plans to better the university.
The candidates will participate in a debate on Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. in the Russell House ballroom before voting begins at 9 a.m. on Feb. 21. Students will have until 5 p.m. on Feb. 22 to cast their votes for executive and senate positions online.
Candidates for Student Body President
Reilly Arford and Emmie Thompson are candidates for student body president. Both candidates are focused on making a more inclusive Student Government focused on meeting student needs.
Arford previously applied and was denied from Student Government positions twice before taking on his current role as the deputy director of the "It's On Us" initiative. He said he ran for student body president to make Student Government more accessible for students.
"I was passionate about it. I wanted to be a part of it, but I didn't really have any alternatives," Arford said. "Put the student back in Student Government right, and make make it more student focused, make it more open to students and making sure that every student has the opportunity to be in Student Government."
Thompson is running alongside Abrianna Reaves, the candidate for vice president, as part of the Thompson Reaves campaign. Thompson currently serves as the deputy chief of staff to the student body president and said she ran for the position in hopes of being able to serve her community.
If she wins the position, Thompson said she wants to put "students first" by providing discounts on parking passes and Ubers, adding chargers to Williams-Brice Stadium, reworking Carolina Core classes and emphasizing communication.
"We're the biggest stakeholders in this university. So there's no reason that (students) shouldn't be put first," Thompson said. "I don't think there's any student on this campus that wouldn't prioritize student safety, student equitability, student resources and that kind of stuff."
Candidate for vice president
Abrianna Reaves is the only candidate for vice president. She said she wanted to run as a way to make a bigger impact on campus.
She currently serves as the first professional fraternity chair on the greek relations committee and said her experience outside of Student Government will help give her better perspective as she takes on the role.
"I was able to see and hear what other students have to say," Reaves said. "A big thing that I want to try and do during my time would be to bring other kinds of people into Student Government — people that are involved in other things on campus. Because really representing the whole student body, you can't do that with just people that are involved in the same organization."
Candidates for speaker of the student senate
Cameron Eubanks and Jordyn Vélez are candidates for speaker of the student senate. Both candidates want to work on creating a positive culture in the student senate and plan to focus on attainable issues that impact students.
Eubanks said he was inspired to run for the position after the impact of previous speakers like Morgiana McDevitt.
"She advocated for student voices at an administration level but also the way that she interacted with senators and how she was kind of a calming force in a very divisive senate and a very big senate with big personalities and big opinions," Eubanks said. "That just kind of sparked my interest in trying to be that calming force in Student Government, but also trying to be an exec level advocate for different policies and different changes in operation."
Vélez said she decided to run for speaker of the student senate after stepping into the chief of staff role under current speaker Natalie Trimble.
"Knowing those structures and seeing those things that I know that I can change. For example, engagement with the student body, things that I'm already doing and have started to do when I transition to the chief of staff I know that I can do as speaker, and I can execute them in a better manner," Vélez said.
Candidates for treasurer
Hannah Augsbach Lamma and Brandon Badinski are running for student body treasurer, a position that recently got reinstated after being removed in the 2022 election season.
Augschach Lamma wrote the referendum to bring back the treasurer position and decided to run after realizing how necessary the position was.
"I saw that we needed better communication with student organizations. It got very confusing as a committee to not have that intermediary between the student body and us because it made it harder for them to make requests," Augsbach Lamma said. And I want to ease that process, and I feel like my experience has shown me how I can do that and improve the system."
Badinski decided to run to give back to his constitutes and improve USC. He hopes to simplify the process for requesting funds and make it easier for clubs to get money allocated.
"It's a very complicated process. It's convoluted, and I've been able to speak to a number of clubs that simply aren't allowed to request finances allocations," Badinski said. "I want to work to teach clubs, how they registered to become an actual organization with the school. And then once they're there, I want to teach them how they work through finance."