On Tuesday, the Student Government Association held elections to choose the new student leaders for the USM Hattiesburg campus.
For the first time in several years, students voted not only for executive officers but for Senate members. Subsequently, a record number of people voted. The turnout was so unforeseen that election commissioner Phoenix Pope announced there would be no runoffs Thursday.
“With more candidates on the ballot, we were able to reach a bigger portion of the student body,” Pope said. “I’m glad that the voter turnout was high because that means that the students voiced their opinions to elect their Student Government Association leadership.”
Caroline Bradley won the office of SGA president with 1,002 votes. Bradley, a sophomore English major from Lucedale, Mississippi served on the SGA Forum branch of Freshman Associates as president and co-director of Freshman Forum.
“I am so thankful for the opportunities I have been given at this university,” she said. “I believed it was time for me to give back.”
With the belief that serving as SGA president was her best option to return the favor, Bradley ran for president. She received
widespread support from the student body.
“Having an amazing support system while making the decision to run and when campaigning definitely helped,” she said.
Bradley hopes to implement her five-point platform soon after she is sworn in on Founder’s Day on March 30. The plan includes improving and developing student IDs, maintaining a strong relationship with Cook Library, improving and promoting parking,building up Student Initiatives and Speak Up Southern Miss and working with professors to find cheaper textbook alternatives.
“I pushed for the One Card System and student IDs throughout my campaign,” Bradley said. “I plan to work to make it happen.”
She was a finalist for Most Outstanding Freshman, the winner of the SOAR Award for Emerging New Leader and once high-fived Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow, but she is most excited about her collaboration with the Southern Miss student body.
“I cannot wait to connect with the student body,” she said. “I want to hear what they have to say and listen to the ideas they want to bring to the table.”
Bradley believes choosing to attend USM was the best decision of her life.
“I have gained so much through my experiences in student organizations, [faculty] and student body at Southern Miss has done nothing but give to me,” she said.
If given the opportunity to tell the student body anything, Bradley would thank them for electing her.
“I am so excited for the upcoming year together, and I cannot wait to begin working for each of you,” she said.
If the election is any indication, Bradley seems to have inherited a very politically engaged student body that will hold her to her promises.
“Voter turn out this year has been higher than in the past,” Pope said. “A lot of that is because of the efforts SGA has made to inform students about elections through social media. Making sure that students know what is going on is important, and we have made huge steps this year to reach students in a multitude of new ways.”
- GPA: 4.0
- Classification: Sophomore
- Major: English
- Hometown: Lucedale, Miss.
- Chi Omega
- Eagle Connection
- Eagle Ambassadors
- Honors College
- Sigma Tau Delta Honor Society
- Southern Style
- Freshman Associates Forum President Freshman Associates Forum Co-Director
STRENGTHENING THE STUDENT VOICE
- Improve Student I.D.s
- Maintain a relationship with Cook Library
- Improve the Student Initiatives branch of Cabinet and Speak Up Southern Miss
- Improve parking
- Find more affordable textbook options