Karthik Sundaram, one of the candidate’s friends, said Opere first brought the idea up to him in the summer of 2015.
Although they vaguely discussed Opere’s intentions, Sundaram said that Opere was mostly there to support him during a tough time in his life.
“We talked about the issues that were going on in my life at that time and he was just relating to them with stories from his past,” Sundaram said.
Outside of his political ambitions and his support as a friend, Opere is a phenomenal soccer player, said Morgan Pergande, a member of his intramural team.
“He brought this whole group of people together from a bunch of different areas, and it was nice how diverse that team was,” Pergande said.
Pergande and Opere’s team won the soccer intramural championship.
“I was the goalie and he was the forward, and he ran all the way back down the field and jumped on my shoulders and we ran off the field,” Pergande said.
Tony Asher, another of Opere’s friends, said he would find Opere watching Chelsea games early in the morning.
“Probably his all time favorite thing to do is dance, though,” Asher said.
Another friend, Jordan Peterkin, said Opere was his dance buddy during finalist weekend for the Morehead-Cain scholarship.
“If you hang around with him at any point in time, I’ve been to his house sometimes, and he’ll play Adele and we’ll just go sing off,” Peterkin said.
Peterkin was also a member of the panel that named Opere a Martin Luther King Jr. scholarship winner this year.
“We could tell he dedicated a lot of his time to making sure that these unrepresented populations on campus were given a voice and a space where they felt, you know, unified,” Peterkin said.
Opere said being chairperson of the Multicultural Affairs and Diversity Outreach committee of student government is where he began to establish relationships with different people across campus.
“I think through serving and working with other students within MADO, that’s where I actually found my passion to be in Carolina, and to serve Carolina, and to ultimately love Carolina,” Opere said.
Opere’s platform places emphasis on caring for the safety and well-being of students.
Peterkin said Opere’s campaign team got One Act trained on Sunday.
“It’s not just about winning and a title for him,” Peterkin said. “It’s more so like he really, really cares about a lot of people.”
Professor Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja said he has had Opere in three classes, and he is what you would want in a student.
“I think it would be good for UNC to nurture him because he is likely to become one of our great leaders,” Nzongola-Ntalaja said.
Opere said he wants to bring different people together from across campus, both now — through his photo campaign — and as president.
“My vision is to be able to see people coming together and, you know, sharing a common vision or working on causes that are not directly related to them, but they know are important,” Opere said.