The Daily Gamecock

Cameron Eubanks looks to reconnect with students, restore stability as speaker of the student senate

It is not uncommon for  third-year criminal justice and international studies student Cameron Eubanks to come home late. Eubanks, a theater minor, participates in USC theater, is involved in greek life and works at the South Carolina Legislative Council Agency in addition to being the new speaker of the student senate.

During the school year, he expects to devote as many as 15 hours a week to his new role, a number that will only grow over the summer, according to Eubanks. To balance that load, Eubanks said he has prioritized establishing boundaries and a routine to balance each aspect of his own life, which includes organizing everything through his calendar.

"I have transferred my entire life into Outlook calendar," Eubanks said. "Outlook calendar has been my way to cope."

Eubanks is used to being busy, juggling theater, class, student government and social life. He started as a student senator when he filled a vacant seat in the 112th student senate and finished the last half of the term. The following spring, he ran his first student senate campaign and won another full term.

After nearly two years as a senator, Eubanks joined former Student Body President Reedy Newton's cabinet as the director of student services while she was in office. In this role, he advised Newton on student service issues like concerns with the advising process and monitored student senate legislation.

According to Newton, Eubanks stood out as as the most impressive candidate when she interviewed him for the role, including bringing a seven-page plan for a new cabinet position, which Newton said demonstrated his knowledge of "key stakeholders to communicate with."

In his new role as speaker, Eubanks will have to act as an impartial mediator over the student senate and advocate for the implementation of every piece of legislation that is passed, whether he personally agrees with it or not.

In his three years in Student Government, Eubanks said there have been incidents of fiery debate among student senators where political partisanship trumped service to the university and decorum broke down. Now, it is Eubanks' job to control these situations. 

"Where the civil discourse starts to wane is when you get into political issues. There's something about political issues in this country that makes everyone just so angry at each other," Eubanks said. "We're not a political organization. We're a service organization." 

Eubanks has set goals for the year to instead reconnect the student senate with its student constituencies and restore order and stability to the student senate after a year that featured resignations, a constitutional crisis, a veto override and an impeachment.

"The past couple of years, student senate has gotten disconnected from the constituents," Eubanks said.

Eubanks said he hopes to remedy these issues with better education and training for student senators to ensure legislation is research-based and that what is passed is neither redundant nor unrealistic for the student senate to accomplish.

"I am fair and I've seen the damage that bias can have," Eubanks said. "Bias can destroy an organization, it can destroy a workplace, it can destroy the reputation of an entity."

To detach from his obligations, Eubanks said binge-watching television shows and getting involved in theater help with relaxation and focusing on just one task.

"I really like being able to go into the headspace of another character and just to forget all the things that I'm struggling with and really step into the character," Eubanks said.

Caleb Davis, a third-year marketing student and Eubanks' roommate, said Eubanks is always busy, but his other interests help him maintain a positive outlook regardless.

"He keeps it all together, and he's still just living his life," Davis said. "He still has a smile on his face at the end of the day every time he comes home."

Mallory Strmel, a third-year marketing and management student and a close friend of Eubanks, said he is able to juggle all of these responsibilities because of his drive and ambition.

"His personal drive comes from the fact that he just has a really big heart, and it's really caring about not only the people around him, but caring about how the people around him are doing," Strmel said.


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