Before Spring Break, The University of Southern Mississippi student body elected Cameron Cloud as its new SGA President.
This week, over coffee in the library, I got to sit down and get to know the Cam behind the campaign.
The meeting started off as many others, with a handshake and an introduction and also a mutual exchange of “thank God the week was over.” However, I quickly got the sense that Mr. Cloud was just as interested in what I had to say as I was in what he had to say.
It seemed that every few questions I would ask of him would be interrupted with a few that he would ask of me. It was not long before the “interview” between reporter and President had turned into just a conversation.
Cameron Cloud, a Biological Sciences and Communication Studies double major with a minor in Spanish, has grown up on and around our campus here at USM. He has served as SGA Eaglepalooza Assistant Director, SGA Freshman Forum Member, an Honor’s College Ambassador, Lucky Day Scholar, Most Outstanding Freshman Male 2016, GEWW Crew Leader, Vice President of Big Brothers Big Sisters as well as a member of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity.
Cam’s experiences here at USM so far have primed him for this new position, which he claims is unlike anything he’s attempted before. More than that, the people he has met in this community have shaped who he is not just as the new SGA President but also as just a regular USM student.
Because, when you get down to it, that’s all he really is-a student just like you and me. When you get past his majors and his awards you see that Cam is just another student trying to figure it out as he goes. He has his
￼doubts about his career path.
He struggles with balancing sleep and homework (a struggle near and dear to my heart). Cam even, at times, doubted his ability to succeed throughout his SGA campaign and struggled with being vulnerable to allow students to see who he really was.
“There were some days where I just laid in bed and prayed, ‘God, get through today,”’ Cloud said.
We’ve been there Cam, we’ve been there.
There is, however, a solid fact I determined about Cam within the first ten minutes of speaking with him. Cam genuinely cares about people. Arguably, it’s the single factor that drives his life- his love for every human around him. It is this love for people that justifies his major’s and career choices. It was this that pushed him to run for SGA President, a position that would give him the unique opportunity to be the voice of those that had not been heard before.
“I wanted to go out and have a conversation with every student I could,” Cloud said. “I wanted to hear their ideas. I wanted to listen to them. One student even asked why we couldn’t have Soar online voting for elections, and that was something I had never thought of. That’s just one example of an idea that came purely from talking to students. I love it.”
Cam decided, in what he calls a “leap of total faith,” to run for SGA President an entire year before he had originally planned.
“I just woke up and thought, ‘OK! Let’s do this,”’ he said.
So with less than a week to prepare, Cam built a campaign on the foundations of relationship, inclusivity, transparency, and community. A campaign built to reflect who Cam is as a person as well as his beliefs, shaped by the community and people he’s been with all along.
Cam grew up in Hattiesburg going to Oak Grove before deciding Southern Miss would be home sweet home. He freely admits that he was anything but athletic in high school, saying instead he drifted towards band and show choir. It “absolutely revolutionized” Cam into who he is. The spur of the moment decision to try out for show choir was so unlike anything he had done before, but put him within a circle of friends and family that loved and supported him. It’s where he learned how to build relationships, a tool that would later serve him well at USM. However, while show choir took him out of his comfort zone, Cam also found something else he loved-music. He has released an album (sorry Cam, I Facebook stalked you) and is currently serving as the Director of Youth Worship at Main Street UMC.
Cam has not only grown up here at USM, he has grown here. His dad is a member of the faculty, and is fiercely proud of his son. “During the campaign, my dad showed one of my videos in his class. I didn’t even know about it until I got an email from the election commissioner warning me that I had received my first strike. I was like, ‘Dad that’s awesome but you can’t do that!’”No doubt an act of love from a father who loves people just as much as his son. Throughout talking with Cam, he kept coming back to three words-”grateful,” “blessed,” and “excited.” Ironically, these are the same words I would use to describe how I felt after talking with Cam. I was grateful for all that he had done for USM, but mostly I was grateful for him listening to my story just as intently as I listened to his. I am blessed for having gotten to know him just a little bit better, and excited for where he will take USM. Without a doubt, it will be straight To The Top!