The Daily Gamecock

Student Body President Emmie Thompson aims to tackle 'realistic' goals, represent all students in new role

Ever since high school, USC Student Body President Emmie Thompson has been interested in policy. Despite not participating in her high school Student Government, she now views her involvement in college as a way to give back. 

“I'm constantly watching the news, constantly hearing all the stuff in the world, and it honestly just overwhelmed me,” Thompson said. “From a mental standpoint, I was like, 'I need to do something where I can feel like I’m making a difference, even if it’s super small or super minuscule.'"

Thompson said her biggest motivator is finding issues she feels are realistic and that can improve students’ lives. When struggling with her own mental health last year, Thompson decided she needed to focus on small goals to make a difference and has continued this mindset in role as student body president. 

"I think just focusing on a scale of 'What can I do where I am?' And that was kind of how I picked out what I was really passionate about going into this election season," Thompson said.  

Through her new role as student body president, she hopes to be an encouraging resource for students and tackle prevalent issues such as student safety, parking and Carolina Core revitalization.

So far, Thompson said the transition to student body president has kept her busy with meetings and shadowing executive Student Government positions, but Thompson is used to a crowded schedule. 

She is a public relations student, a part of the South Carolina Honors College and a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority and Phi Alpha Delta pre-law fraternity. Thompson also leads a Bible study.

"(Learning how to balance everything) has definitely been challenging. Thankfully, I'm a very structured, plan-it-out person," Thompson said. "I'm excited to figure out the best way to make that as effective and efficient as possible."

In her free time, Thompson said she loves to cook and uses it as a way to destress. She plans to use some of her office hours to cook for students. 

"I grew up in a Japanese family, and so (I want to) cook hibachi and pass up students for free and do hibachi by the horseshoe for my office hours. I'm so excited to do that," Thompson said. 

Being elected as student body president has caused her to take a hiatus from studying for the LSAT, but she plans to go to law school after graduating. 

"(I'm) interested in kind of helping developing communities," Thompson said.

In her personal life, her friends describe her as having a “service heart” and constantly uplifting others. 

"I feel like above all, she will always have your back no matter what and be there to support you,"  Emmie's roommate and sorority sister Kaitlyn Kern said. "Even if she doesn't know how to support you, immediately, she will find a way and that will be on her mind, the entire thing, until she can figure out how to help you work through whatever you're going through."

David Moryossef, the current chief advisor for the student body vice president, got to know Thompson through his role as the secretary of finance last year. Moryossef said Thompson's efficiency and passion for the role will make her a great president. 

"It makes me happy to hear that, even though the work is hard, and it's sometimes tedious and sometimes annoying, she still does it with passion, and she wants to serve students to the best of her ability," Moryossef said. 

During election season, Thompson campaigned on the idea of making Student Government more impactful to students and plans to promote resources from the university and Student Government to the student body. 

“When I went to talk to organizations during the campaign, I’d go in and be like, 'Raise your hand if you feel like Student Government has made a positive impact or been a resource for you during your college experience,' and in a group of maybe 400 girls, I would have two hands go up. And that’s just really sad,” Thompson said. 

With a budget of over $55,000 from students' activity fees, Thompson aims to tackle issues like parking and problems associated with increased enrollment during her tenure as student body president. 

"We've only used about half of (the budget) this year, and it's not necessarily addressing student concerns," Thompson said. "I want to make sure that money is going back to benefit students." 

Thompson's current plans include offering discounted parking passes on a rolling application basis, installing phone chargers in the student section of Williams-Brice Stadium and revitalizing Carolina Core by offering certain classes in exchange for ones that may not apply to a student’s life or major. 

Along with Vice President Abrianna Reeves, Thompson hopes to increase diversity in Student Government during her time in office. 

“I also just want to make sure that Student Government is more representative of the school as a whole," Thompson said. "If we're going to represent all students' opinions, we have to make sure we're recruiting from all the different areas of campus and all of those different niches". 

Thompson said she is excited for the experience of being student body president and looks forward to what she can accomplish in her term.

“I’m put in this position for a reason. I’m put in this place in life for a reason, and I have to focus on the things that I can do," Thompson said.