Authentic Q&A with our 2016 SBP candidates

We've heard the speeches, the debates and the yelling in the Pit. 

But how well do we really know our candidates for student body president? Do we know what their favorite emojis are? How would they rank the songs on Beyoncé's most recent album? 

Having It All hosts Kelsey and Alice took their burning questions to the candidates themselves. These were their answers. 


Bradley Opere

bradley

Bradley Opere is one of three candidates running for 2016 Student Body President.

Having It All: What’s the best song on Beyoncé’s self titled album? 

Bradley Opere: XO

HIA: Why? 

BO: Reminds me of some great moments in my life

HIA: Rams or Lenoir?

BO: Lenoir

HIA: Best place to eat on Franklin Street?

BO: Chipotle

HIA: What does the Student Body President even do?

BO: Not have a life :)

HIA: Why do you think no women ran this year?

BO: Because systems of patriarchy are alive and all the male candidates benefit from this. I’m sad that’s the case.

HIA: What do you miss most about life before campaigning?

BO: Privacy. I loved when very few people knew my name.

HIA: How do you keep it together during this campaign?

BO: Friends. I wouldn’t even have started this without them.

HIA: Describe your typical day of campaigning.

BO: Wake up. Reply to texts and emails. Pit sit for two to three hours. Go to class. Meet with two or three different groups. Debate prep. Debate. Homework. Repeat.

HIA: If you had to pick one section of your campaign platform, what would it be?

BO: Racial Equity Training. Our ability to get different campus leaders to make this a priority for each organization and chapter

HIA: What celebrity do you look most like?

BO: Don Cheadle apparently.

HIA: What is your favorite emoji and why?

BO: Smile. It’s a classic.

HIA: How can we improve mental health support at UNC?

BO: Working hand in hand with Rethink and Active Minds to get more students to have peer to peer training and increase mental health awareness on campus.

HIA: What are the best components of a cookout tray?

BO: Milkshakes, milkshakes and milkshakes.

HIA: Adnan or Jay?

BO: It’s a tricky one, I’ll have to go with Adnan.

HIA: Why should we vote for you? (please answer in 140 characters or less)

BO: It’s time we have a candidate who has a proven track record of speaking out on issues and standing together with students. I’ve been doing that for the last two years and as SBP I’ll do the same for more student organizations.


Wilson Sink

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Wilson Sink is one of three candidates running for 2016 Student Body President.

Having It All: What’s the best song on Beyoncé’s self titled album? Why?

Wilson Sink: Actually, I'm more of a fan of "Formation" right now. It's on her new tour, awesome music video and it was hype during the Super Bowl.

HIA: Rams or Lenoir?

WS: Lenoir. It has Chick-fil-a. No contest.

HIA: Best place to eat on Franklin Street?

WS: Linda’s definitely, I love their sweet potato tots.

HIA: What does the student body president even do?

WS:  The SBP is a full-time job. The SBP is a student advocate at the administrative, Board of Trustees, Board of Governors, and state levels, so they regularly with these leaders. The SBP is also a voting member of the BOT, and can massively influence long-term policy at Carolina. Most importantly, I think, the SBP is a student voice. So they can rally and stand for causes while leading a collaborative center for campus initiatives, Student Government.

HIA: Why do you think no women ran this year?

WS: Actually, I originally worked on a female friend’s campaign. And it’s important to remember that women ran in all of the past three years, and that four of the last 10 SBP’s have been women. So I think in some ways it comes down to chance. My friend, for instance, decided that the position ultimately wasn’t something she wanted to pursue. I think that’s the decision that the overwhelming majority of the student body, regardless of gender, make every year. However, it is important to recognize that politics at all levels still is predominantly male. There is still a systematic stigma around women who seek power, whereas it is more of a norm for men. Culture change takes time, but that is a transition that can be helped along by having more visible women in power.

HIA: What do you miss most about life before campaigning?

WS: Exercise probably. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to run a marathon, and I had been racking up the miles and ratcheting up the training. I just couldn’t dedicate time to running over these past two weeks without giving up even more sleep than I already am. I really miss the chance to get out and destress, it is worth it though!

HIA: How do you keep it together during this campaign?

WS: Fortunately, I have an amazing team that keeps me organized, and I have an even better friend group that keeps me sane and makes me relax and watch some Netflix after a long day or a long week. Guitar helps too.

HIA: Describe your typical day of campaigning

WS: Honestly there is not ‘typical day’ -- every day has some surprise or absurdity. Like last week, one of our campaign videos went viral, and I was getting texts from friends both here and across the country all day. Most days start pretty early when my phone starts going bizerk at 8am with texts from various members of the team. Then it’s off to campus to go to a few meetings with student leaders and maybe an administrator. In between, I’ll hang out in the pit and try to meet people. Shake hands, make introductions, hand out flyers, remind students to vote. After the traffic dies down on campus, I head back home to eat quickly and change for whatever debate is happening that evening. And after an hour or two of grilling and public nervousness, I can finally plan for the next day, attempt homework and then pass out in my bed.

HIA: If you had to pick one section of your campaign platform, what would it be?

WS: Engaging Democracy for sure. My passion has been the political process since I started canvassing as a 10-year-old. The SBP has a good deal of power, but for big issues it takes a village. The University has 30,000 students that can change the shape of the community and state if it chooses to act and chooses to vote. We want to give students the tools to know what candidates believe, how to register, encourage registration, explain new voting laws, and actually get students to vote, in person or absentee. 

HIA: What celebrity do you look most like?

WS: A professor of mine once called me George Clooney — like in the middle of a 200-person lecture, but personally I think I’m more of a Jim Sturgess.

HIA: What is your favorite emoji and why?

WS: I’m a big fan of the thumbs up. It’s a way to be positive but also end a conversation politely.

HIA: How can we improve mental health support at UNC?

WS: Ideally we could increase CAPS funding, but that’s a long-term fix that frankly goes against the trend of state decrease in monetary support. At the student government level, we want to do a lot. 1. Decrease stigma through programming. 2. Provide additional resources (like tele-counseling). 3. Encourage mental health first-aid training for RA’s and faculty. 4. Promote inclusion of mental health into LFIT curriculum. 5. Bring private counselors periodically to campus to meet with longer-term student patients.

HIA: What are the best components of a cookout tray?

WS: My favorite parts of the tray specifically are the value and the variety. I mean where else can I get a burger, chicken nuggets and a quesadilla for less than $6? Honestly, what draws me to Cookout again and again are the milkshakes.

HIA: Adnan or Jay?

WS: I haven’t listened to Serial!!!

HIA: Why should we vote for you? (please answer in 140 characters or less)

WS: I’ll keep it brief. Everyone runs on big ideas and good intentions. I’m the candidate with the tangible plans and steps to connect that ideology to reality. My platform is both broad and feasible, and I have the experience and connections in leadership and service across the University and the state to follow through. I’m the man with the plan.


John Taylor

johntaylor

John Taylor sits on the steps of Wilson Library. Taylor identifies himself as a “dark horse” in the student body president election.

Having It All: What’s the best song on Beyoncé’s self titled album?

John Taylor: I’m more of a Johnny Cash kind of guy

HIA: Why?

JT: Come on, they named a tarantula after him.

HIA: Rams or Lenoir?

JT: Rams

HIA: Best place to eat on Franklin Street?

JT: Sutton’s

HIA: What does the student body president even do?

JT: Preside for the Student Body, of course.

HIA: Why do you think no women ran this year?

JT: We have a problem in our society with men speaking for women. The fact is that the choice to run is a deeply personal decision that will have a profound impact on your life, and I don’t think I’m qualified to speak for every woman at Carolina that thought about running. However, I will listen to the female voices in our community so that we all might learn how to incorporate every voice in the leadership of our university.

HIA: What do you miss most about life before campaigning?

JT: Not standing outside constantly.

HIA: How do you keep it together during this campaign?

JT: I rely on the peace of Jesus Christ within me.

HIA: Describe your typical day of campaigning.

JT: Wake up at 6:00 a.m. Read the Bible. Go to School. Get out of class by 11:00 a.m. every day. Stand in the pit till the sun goes down. Speak at events. Debate with two of the finest students that the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has to offer. Go Home. Read the Bible. Repeat.

HIA:If you had to pick one section of your campaign platform, what would it be?

JT: The Unification of our community.

HIA: What celebrity do you look most like?

JT: Justin Timberlake

HIA: What is your favorite emoji and why?

JT: Smile. It’s a classic.

HIA: How can we improve mental health support at UNC?

JT: De-stigmatizing mental illness and thereby improving access to health care.

HIA: What are the best components of a cookout tray?

JT: Cheeseburger & two quesadillas

HIA: Adnan or Jay?

JT: My jury’s still out.

HIA: Why should we vote for you? (please answer in 140 characters or less)

JT: I can help bridge the divides at Carolina, and those between the university and our state. I look forward to building bridges.


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