Meet the candidates running for SGA president

Photo by Arnaud Jaegars

Photo by Arnaud Jaegars

We’re in the thick of run-off elections, and you may be wondering who George Hicks and Olivia Rothstein are. We had the chance to talk to both candidates about their platforms and their favorite parts of campus. Don’t forget to cast your vote today before 5!


Meet Olivia Rothstein

Olivia Rothstein (left) and her running mate Calista Pullin (right)

Olivia Rothstein (left) and her running mate Calista Pullin (right)

A Political Science and Historic Preservation double major from Gainesville, Florida.

Running Mate: Calista Pullin

Why are you running for president?

I’m running for President because I love working to help improve our campus. It’s so incredible to be able to meet with such amazing student and college leaders and then bring about positive changes!

Can you explain the major tenets of your campaign?

Our platform is centered around sustainability, so it’s sorted into the three categories that the Department of Sustainability uses, called the Triple Bottom Line. While most of our initiatives fit under multiple categories, they all fit under the umbrella of either social, economic, and environmental. 

How do you plan to improve the school/student experience?

Our overall focus is to make sure we are truly improving the student experience for all students, particularly ones who often are forced into the margins, which we think is unacceptable and must change. Our core platform consists of four main initiatives: creating a permanent diversity and inclusion council composed of faculty, staff, students, and administration; getting free STI testing to be more accessible to students; instituting a red-flag policy for sexual assault so perpetrators of crimes of sexual assault cannot just transfer to another institution to escape accountability; and adding more relaxation spaces on campus to promote mindfulness. Some of our other initiatives include getting parking payment plans established, making our campus more accessible for students with disabilities by partnering with AXS maps, and getting priority registration for student veterans. More about our platform can be found at www.improvecofc.com

What is your favorite class you’ve taken and why?

I have a lot of favorite classes I’ve taken at CofC, but if I had to choose a number one, I’d say Politics of the Middle East with Dr. John Creed. It was really tough but also really fascinating because we got to dive deep into the aspects of the region that interested the most. He’s really an inspiring professor, and that class alone taught me so much about time management and balancing responsibilities. It was exhausting, but I’d take it again in a heartbeat!

What is your favorite place on campus? In Charleston?

My favorite place on campus is the little La Bibliotheka in the Halsey Center. It’s such a great, quiet place to decompress surrounded by really cool and interesting books. I would stay in there all day if I could! My favorite place in Charleston is the Battery. I want to go to architecture school, so I love looking at all the incredible houses and just relaxing near the water, plus there’s always a lot of dogs around, and I absolutely love dogs.


Meet George Hicks

George Hicks (right), and his running mate Kelly Lifchez (left)

George Hicks (right), and his running mate Kelly Lifchez (left)

A Political Science major on the Pre-Law track from Lake City, South Carolina, minoring in Business Administration and History.

Running Mate: Kelly Lifchez

Why are you running for president?

I am running for Student Body President for numerous reasons. I am running because of my love for the College of Charleston and its students. I am running because of my dedication to service. I am running because I know that Kelly and I can be the change that is needed on this campus. Finally, I am running to give back to the school that has given so much to me.  

This institution has made me into the person that I am today, and, for that, I have to give everything I can back to its betterment. Before coming to the College, I would have never imagined that I would meet so many friendly people, grow as an individual, and identify my passions all at the same time. For me, Student Government was the catalyst for this growth, and now I want to take my next step in this organization to improve the campus as a whole.

Can you explain the major tenets of your campaign?

The major tenets of our campaign, as exemplified in our three core pillars, are "Experience. Engagement. Empowerment."  

First, we chose experience because it cannot be stressed enough how important it is to have experienced individuals in these leadership positions.  Without experience, a Student Body President and Vice President cannot efficiently and successfully represent the students on our campus and facilitate the changes that they want to see.  I am currently the Chief of Staff for SGA, and, through the responsibilities assigned to this role, this makes me the most knowledgeable candidate on the subjects of the SGA bylaws and how to make the tangible changes to our existing structure. Without putting what we want to see done in writing, like the reformation of the SGA executive positions and Senate structure, change will never happen.

Second, we chose engagement because this is an issue that affects all aspects of the College and our lives here.  Without students being aware and involved in the organizations and institutions around them, there will never be a way for everyone to have their voices heard. We will change that. Through increased collaboration amongst organizations and the groups they serve, we will unite the student body to face every problem present on our campus with all one collective answer.  We have many methods of seeing this done, such as creating direct lines of communication for all organization on our campus through SGA and increased cooperation with the existing structures on our campus, but my favorite solution is the President's Roundtable. This program, which would be funded in part from the donation of my salary back to SGA's campus-wide initiative fund, creates a forum for SGA to meet with various students, leaders, and administrators from across our campus to discuss and combat the issues our campus faces in one collaborative, equally representative way.

Finally, we chose empowerment because we will not be able to do this alone. To see the changes needed on our campus become a reality, this will have to be a campus-wide effort, and we will involve the study body in every step of the process. We want the students here to be aware of what SGA and all other organizations are doing, how to get involved with them, and how to be the change that they want to see. We will be a President and a Vice President that are constantly visible, communicative, and responsive because that what is required to see all students comfortable and able to use their voice as advocates for their own interests.

How do you plan to improve the school/student experience?

This is a difficult question to answer in a reasonable amount of words because we have so much in store! Other than what I have already mentioned, we will enact policies that will improve the lives of all students on campus. To name a few, we will advocate for the the expansion of the Good Samaritan/Medical Amnesty Policy, inclusivity and safe zone training of Student Health Services and Public Safety, continuing the establishment of free and regular STI/STD testing, expansion of gender inclusion in residence halls, improvement of the check-in technology in residence halls, revisions to the class registration and academic advisor system, and further supporting the victims of sexual assault, physical and emotional abuse, and discrimination. How we will work to implement all of these policies, plus many more, can be found in our Outline of Proposed Policies on www.hickslifchez.com or on Instagram @hickslifchez!

What is your favorite class you've taken and why?

This one is easy: Professor Claire Wofford’s American Government. Being a political science major, it’s obvious that I am fascinated by the topic, but if you’ve taken one of “Claire’s” classes then you know exactly why it is one of my favorites.  Claire is one of the most intelligent, responsive, and – most importantly – personable professors that I have ever had, and she was able to actually make going to class enjoyable! Honestly, I’m not sure if I even missed one of those classes because they were so fun! It was the perfect mix of discussion-based and lecture-based teaching, and Claire is wonderful at facilitating beneficial and thought-provoking conversation.

What is your favorite place on campus? In Charleston?

At the risk of sounding like such a typical answer, my favorite spot is Cistern Yard. I am always able to grab a bench and relax for a few minutes when I need it most. An added benefit is there are always dogs! I am a huge dog person and desperately miss my dogs back home, so going there to sit makes me feel like I am more at home than anywhere else.  

In Charleston, I love City Lights. Their coffee is amazing, their customers are all so interesting and willing to have a conversation, and it’s so cozy. The only downside is the walk there, so I only go when I know I have a free hour to kill and just enjoy myself. You can’t really go wrong with anywhere in Charleston, though!

Don’t forget to cast your vote for SGA president and vice president today before 5! You can cast your ballot on Cougar Connect by logging in and clicking on the election banner.

Article by Emma Grabowski, @emwhitney