USC Freshman, Brady Nash decribes seeing a presidential candidate face to face as electrifying. He says that you really get a grasp of how great of a public speakers they are by attending their rallies.
USC Junior, Jamie Clark said it was convenient to attend presidential candidate Bernie Sanders event at the Russell House theater on the University of South Carolina’s campus on Feb. 16.
USC Sophomore, Ian Clough thinks more students should take advantage of seeing presidential candidates while they’re in town. He thinks the percentage of students that vote is kind of pathetic.
Trevor Cox went to see Marco Rubio last August with friends at USC’s Russell House theater. Cox thinks the rallies on and off campus are good opportunities for students to learn about presidential candidates.
By Cecilia Brown
This week was a crowd-surfing moment for University of South Carolina students whose bucket lists include meeting a potential American President in person.
Presidential candidates aren’t rock stars, but seeing them face-to-face is “electrifying” according to USC freshman, Brady Nash.
“It’s almost comparable to when you know you see a concert on YouTube and then you go and see it in person - it’s a whole different experience,” Nash said. “It gives you sort of the idea of what the person is like; also it’s just fun. It really gives you more of an impression of them as a person and a candidate.”
The presidential candidates have crisscrossed the state in a last-minute frenzy of town halls and rallies, but the capital has turned out to be - at least momentarily - the center of the political universe.
South Carolinians go to the polls Saturday to vote in the Republican presidential primary. Democrats hold their primary on Feb. 27.
“It’s a once in a lifetime experience. Also, I don’t really do my research on politics so actually listening to someone talk about their platform is more informational than just reading about it,” said Jamie Clark, a junior at USC.
“I’m from a very rural town from Maryland so having everyone flock to Columbia is very interesting and a good experience that everyone should take advantage of,” Clark said.
Storming the state back-to-back, the candidates have spent a great deal of time in Columbia, particularly on the University of South Carolina’s campus, giving students convenient opportunities to attend campaign events.
“These people are running our country for the next eight years of our lives so if we don’t want it to fall apart then we should probably go to it and learn something,” said Ian Clough, a USC sophomore. Clough went to see Bernie Sanders earlier this week at USC’s Russell House Theater.
Clough said he learned that activism matters and that taking a part makes a difference by attending the event.
“I respect presidential candidates. They’ve achieved a lot and they do a lot for our country, at least some of them, so it’s kinda cool just to see them in person,” Clough said.
The candidates have been in and out of the state campaigning since the early part of the year. Several of the Republican candidates made stops early in January at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center and both of the Democratic candidates spoke at the King Day at the Dome 2016 on the State House steps.
“They’re free events that are beneficial to learning stuff and they’re pretty fun. It helps you get involved too,” said Trevor Cox, a USC freshman. Cox went to see Florida Sen. Marco Rubio with some of his friends last August at USC’s Russell House Theater.
“It was the first time I actually have seen a presidential candidate in person. I was kind of in the back so I couldn’t see him too well, but it was different than seeing him on television,” said Cox.
USC President Harris Pastides also welcomed the chaos of the political season, even if that meant national network trucks idling on campus. He encouraged Carolina students to register to vote and remain engaged in politics.
“As difficult and messy as it is, I would not trade our political system for any other. The nation needs you to make informed decisions, to participate in civil discourse and more than anything, to vote,” Pastides wrote in his winter email to students.