Primary voting for student body president and vice president happens this Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020. In preparation for the ballots, which will be sent out via an email Wednesday morning, The Tiger caught up with five students who have been exceedingly involved with the campaigns that have been raging across campus these past two weeks.
Olivia Loynes, a junior elementary education major, is the campaign manager of Austin Simpson and Hallie Bowers.
Will Billbrough, a sophomore political science major, is the campaign manager of Dahvier Alston and Will Galloway.
Michael Paterakis, a junior finance major, is the campaign manager of Jonathan Gundana and Emma Canedo.
Sean Larkin, a junior finance major, is the campaign manager of J.T. Stroupe and Kendall Parrish.
Jacob “Shrek” Strickland, a junior computer science major, is one of the presidential candidates and has been doing the majority of the management for his own campaign.
The Tiger News (TN): How did you meet the candidates?
Olivia Loynes (OL): I met Austin and Hallie both through student government. I met Austin last year working on a different campaign, so that’s how we kind of became friends. We’re all on cabinet this year, and I’ve had an amazing time getting to know them and bonding with them. Austin and I got to go to DC a couple weeks ago to represent the university, and that was an amazing experience that I think solidified our friendship.
Will Billbrough (WB): I met Dahvier and Will both on senate last year. I knew Dahvier because he was the vice chair of a committee that my chair was really close friends with. And then Will and I were in a class together second semester last year, and that’s how we became really close friends.
Michael Paterakis (MP): I met Jonathan through the Student Alumni Council and have spent a lot of time with him over the past two years through a variety of clubs and organizations on campus. I met Emma when I was a freshman through mutual friends, and we have been close friends ever since.
Sean Larkin (SL): I originally first met J.T. through Delta Sigma Pi. It’s one of the big business fraternities on campus, and there’s about a hundred and fifteen majors, and he joined last semester. He was a very prominent member early [on], so I knew he was going to be a special kid. I also met Kendall through J.T. because she really stands out, as well. That’s what I think makes them such a great pair. They really feed off each other well, and I’m just glad to have met them earlier this past year.
Shrek Strickland (SS): I met Ronald in high school, but I don't remember how. We just kind of started being friends.
TN: Why did you decide to become their campaign manager?
OL: Austin and Hallie asked me to help out, and they just have such big hearts, I couldn’t say no. They have some really great ideas and initiatives for the campus that I would love to work on.
WB: I knew that Dahvier and Will had served with a lot of passion on senate last year, and I knew how much they love this school and how much they love the university along with myself. I heard that the two of them were thinking about running, and they actually came and approached me. They said, ‘Hey, I’d love for you to be in our top 15, if you’d like to serve as the campaign manager.’ When I heard that, I was extremely excited because I couldn’t think of two better people who love this university as much as they do that would truly care.
MP: I decided to become Jonathan and Emma’s campaign manager because I truly believe in their platform and I am passionate about their vision for the future of Clemson. I wanted to help share their ideas in regard to their campaign and felt like the campaign manager role was the perfect opportunity to do so.
SL: I think that they have a really unique message to really empower the students because a lot of the time, the students fall to the bottom of the totem pole. But we’re the ones that are paying the tuition, and we’re the ones that see the day-to-day things that go on around campus. I wanted to be their campaign manager because I wanted to support their message and I wanted to allow people like me to feel a little bit more empowered on Clemson’s campus.
SS: I became my own campaign manager because I know I can't rely on anyone else to do anything, and if I want to make something happen, I [have to] do it myself.
TN: What is the best way for students to show their support for this campaign?
OL: I think for any campaign, the best way to show support is to repost to social media posts. Come out when we’re on the bridge; if you have time, stop and help table. If not, just grab something and help spread the word. Definitely word of mouth is the best way to spread a campaign.
WB: Come out to our events…Get to know the candidates. They have their plans for this university with your best interests in mind. The best thing you can do is come out, speak to the candidates, get to know them and tell people about the candidates. Just come out, be active, and get to know us.
MP: The best way for students to show their support for Jonathan and Emma’s campaign is to tell their friends about their platform and get involved in campaign efforts on campus. Also, sharing graphics and videos on social media throughout the campaign season is an awesome way to show your support for Jonathan and Emma.
SL: I think that the best way is to just get out there and really show what they are made of. Whether that’s supporting them by wearing their stickers, by going to their table, but it doesn’t just have to be them. Just show your support for Clemson, and hopefully, by doing that, you’ll realize that J.T. and Kendall really embody what Clemson is all about.
SS: The best way for students to support this campaign is to vote for me…Also to post on social media that I'm running.
TN: What does the campaign slogan mean to you?
OL: Our campaign slogan is ‘Be The Change’, and to me, that means ‘be the change here at Clemson’. You can do that individually, as a group, and we can do that as a student body. So for me, being the change is working on this campaign. It can be the things that we do next, and it could be my future here at Clemson.
WB: ‘A Clemson for ALL’ is our campaign slogan. For me, it seems pretty, I don’t want to say self-explanatory, but it’s all-encompassing. That was sort of the point. So, it’s an acronym, and we chose those the acronym for a reason because we knew we wanted to encompass every single aspect on campus. We wanted to make sure that everyone knew that our Clemson, our vision for this place, what this place stands for, is a Clemson for all, every single one of the students that are here.
MP: To me, the campaign slogan ‘All For Clemson’ represents Jonathan and Emma’s passion for Clemson and their vision to implement positive change that will benefit all students on campus. Jonathan and Emma are dedicated to serving and representing the interests of everyone at Clemson and this slogan embodies that vision.
SL: Their campaign slogan is ‘Yours. Ours. Together.’ That basically means that everyone in Clemson has their own voice; that they make up Clemson’s campus. [J.T. and Kendall] have their own voice, which is a bunch of ideas they’ve compiled together, whether it’s supporting club sports, whether that’s supporting student athletes, whether that’s supporting the everyday student. They are two business students, so they have that business mindset. They want to put those mindsets together and create a whole new way to think about Clemson’s campus.
SS: The campaign slogan "This is Our Swamp" is not really that deep. It's just funny and it sounds good.
TN: If your candidates are elected, what do you think the biggest change at Clemson will be as a result?
OL: That’s a tough one. They have a lot of really good things in their campaign. One of the biggest things that I hope they are able to accomplish is the interpersonal violence initiatives that they have, so having a women’s center on campus, having resources for women who are survivors of sexual assault, and having a place for those women to go.
WB: I think the biggest change would be forming a stronger community. I think that’s a lot of what our campaign is pushing for, which is why we chose our slogan, ‘A Clemson For ALL’. Because we really want people to form bonds with each other and with this university, and let that be a relationship for life. And we want people to care for this university and each other as much as possible, because we know how much this place means to us, and how much it means to so many other people. To build this community and make it a lot stronger, that would be a dream come true.
MP: If Jonathan and Emma are elected, I think that the biggest change at Clemson will be improving the image of student government. At the moment, not many students know what Clemson's student government does or how it operates. Working closely with Jonathan and Emma in the past, I know that they will do a great job of implementing their platform to ensure that student government works more efficiently to bring positive change to Clemson's campus.
SL: I think that people will come together more. I think that, right now, we see a lot of change that we don’t know why or how it came about. I think that their idea to be more transparent is really going to come through, and you’ll be able to see that initially, right off the bat when they hopefully are elected this spring.
SS: If we are elected, I don't see many changes happening [to be honest]. Student government doesn't have much power. However, I'll try my hardest to improve parking.