With the undergraduate student body elections starting March 2, it’s time to get to know this year’s student leader candidates and what they stand for. Meet the other candidate group here.

Emily Blackshire and Hunter Burgess, pictured in the football stadium, are running for undergraduate student body president and vice president.

Emily Blackshire and Hunter Burgess
Image Credit: Courtesy photo

Presidential Candidate
Emily Blackshire
Class: Junior
Major: Language and International Health
Hometown: Hilton Head, South Carolina

Vice Presidential Candidate
Hunter Burgess
Class: Junior
Major: Science Teaching – Biological Sciences
Hometown: Easley, South Carolina

What is your favorite Clemson memory?

EB: Honestly, my favorite day of my Clemson experience thus far was being drenched while tailgating and attending the Notre Dame game. Watching our team defeat the Fighting Irish in the fourth quarter and then rushing the field with thousands of my best friends in the pouring rain was definitely a highlight of my Clemson experience.

HB: My favorite Clemson memory was the night of Midnight Breakfast in Harcombe Dining Hall during the spring semester of my freshman year. The night provided a combination of all of my favorite things: all-you-can-eat food, dancing, good company and the occasional Ke$ha song.

How do you hope to bring Clemson further into the national spotlight while preserving its culture and identity?

EB: I think Hunter and I both have aspirations of amplifying the aspects of Clemson that are already great and hope to contribute to even more acclaim-worthy initiatives if we were to serve in office. I hope to build energy around underserved initiatives, like raising our Campus Pride score to contribute to greater schoolwide feelings of inclusion as well as continuing to oppose fee increases that pose economic barriers to students. We will strive to prioritize the issues most pertinent to the student body while working with administration to elevate Clemson to even higher rankings within the Top 25 public institutions.

HB: Taking into account that our University is a land grant institution, the student body has the unique opportunity of preserving history by staying true to the core foundations outlined in the will of Thomas Green Clemson while simultaneously promoting change as the dynamic and prestigious college campus we were meant to be. If elected, I hope to lead initiatives and generate projects that not only safeguard the traditional identity of Clemson but also guide our University toward a position of pride in regard to cultural cultivation and diverse elevation. The future nature of Clemson University, with this in mind, will be on the receiving end of even more national recognition that will undeniably enhance its storied history.

Leading and improving the undergraduate student body is a team effort. How do you complement your running mate?

EB: I can’t imagine a better friend, let alone running mate, than Hunter. Our Clemson experiences, organization involvement and friend groups have been as different as they come. Our interests and hopes for this University, however, align beautifully. He is so devoted to making Clemson the best it can be and each time we chat, I am challenged to do what I can to contribute to the betterment of this school too. We are both so deeply invested in communities very different than our own backgrounds, strive to learn more everyday, and are working to become better listeners so that we can best represent all constituents.

HB: The two of us have developed deep and genuine friendships with the people that make up the organizations that we’re a part of, and we put these relationships before our other commitments. Emily and I not only care for our present friends here at Clemson but also genuinely love the individual students and future friends of this University. It is this shared love for all students as well as the desire to make each of these Tigers feel heard, represented and cared for that make us such a great team.

Inclusivity is a key word used in your platform. Why is this concept important to you—and to the Clemson Family?

EB: Making Clemson a safe place where all students can thrive is my number one priority in this campaign and has been throughout the course of my time at Clemson. Bringing as many voices to the table and making sure we’re working to adequately include as many perspectives as possible has been the goal Hunter and I have most sought after. I hope to contribute to a Clemson that is able to celebrate those opportunities and the individuals involved. I hope every single Clemson student feels that they have some ownership of their community and that they are supported and cared for by CUSG, administration and their peers.

HB: The concept of the Clemson Family infers that there exists on this campus a culture that welcomes and accommodates its entire student body. Emily and I include the theme of “Inclusive Excellence” as part of our campaign’s platform so as to ensure that there should be and can be more than adequate amounts of respectful representation for the individuals at Clemson University who are traditionally marginalized because of their race, nationality, income, sexual orientation, etc.

How do you see the new ClemsonForward strategic plan affecting change at the undergraduate level?

EB: The ClemsonForward strategic plan brings so many changes to the coming years at Clemson. New facilities for both work and play will open opportunities for students to learn inside and outside of the classroom. I think that college reorganization (such as the split between the soon-to-be College of Business and the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences) is going to revitalize aspects of the academic experience as it will give more emphasis and support within colleges to provide major-specific resources. Including in the plan that we expect living arrangements to be environments that are “diverse, respectful and inclusive” shows that from students’ first experiences on Clemson’s campus, within their residences halls, we expect them to embody our core values of integrity, honesty and respect toward their peers.

I think we’re moving toward an institution that prioritizes both the academic experience and student engagement in a way that allows students opportunities to become more welcoming to difference, more prosperous in their fields and more eager to learn and grow during their time here.

Which emoji best describes you? Why?

EB: My favorite emoji is one that I call the “bliss whale” (the sassy-looking humpback whale) because it really embodies the spirit of all things serendipitous in both this campaign and my life in general. I don’t know that I can say it totally describes me (because frankly, I don’t know if I aptly embody that kind of joy) but it sure does resonate with me.

HB: The emoji that best describes me is the cat that is crying tears of laughter. I absolutely love cats, and I am always fully and emotionally present like it seems to be.

In one sentence, sum up the overall impact you hope to leave at Clemson if you’re elected.

EB: I hope that we are able to bring as many voices to the table as we can, celebrating and preserving the aspects of this University that are wonderful, while actively working toward an even better Clemson experience for all students.

HB: I want every student on this campus to feel as if there are proper levels of representation both within student government and higher administration fighting fiercely and working diligently in order to provide and ensure that these Tigers’ individual experiences at Clemson are the best and most beautiful that they can be.