Clemson undergraduate student leaders Joey Wilson and Nicki Seidman pose for a picture at an event.

Image Credit: Courtesy photo

Joey Wilson and Nicki Seidman have a vision for Clemson: inclusivity, transparency and student body support. These are the platforms that got them elected into office as your 2016-17 Undergraduate Student Government president and vice president, and these are the promises that they intend to fulfill in their term. With a new semester kicking off, we reached out to Joey and Nicki to talk about their goals.

CUSG President Joey Wilson
: Bioengineering
Minor: Global Politics
Hometown: Duncan, South Carolina

CUSG Vice President Nicki Seidman
: Political Science and Language and International Trade double major
Hometown: Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina

Q: What makes you most proud to be a Clemson student?

Joey: The Clemson Experience and school spirit that binds all of us together! We have it all here — from academics to athletics to student life and beyond. No matter where you are, if you run into a Clemson grad you already have a shared special bond. There truly is “something in these hills” that stays with you forever.

Q: What do you think are the most pressing issues on campus right now?

Joey: I believe the most pressing campus issues are those that are hard to talk about. Issues regarding diversity and inclusion, sexual assault and mental health are particularly problematic. However, the first step is to recognize that there’s a problem and start talking about it. In order to solve these issues, we need to understand them better and combine knowledge, passion and hard work to make a difference.

Nicki: I think the most pressing and relevant issue right now is the rapid growth of Clemson University. I feel like we are growing faster than we can sustain. For example, Core Campus is not complete and yet we have hundreds of students living in a residence hall that has some unfinished common areas. Parking is even more difficult than usual because we have more students than spots and classes are filling up too quickly.

Q: You talked about building a more inclusive Clemson in your campaign platform. With events like the Sikes sit-in, it’s clear that the students feel the same way. How do you plan to tackle the diversity and inclusion issues that exist presently?

Joey: All students should be guaranteed the opportunity to pursue a Clemson experience that is uniquely their own because every student is part of our Clemson Family and should be treated as such. To me, the best way to tackle our issues is to get all students to talk to each other about their lives and experiences here because everyone can benefit from listening to different points of view. We want to facilitate this by holding Town Halls. However, that’s still not enough. We want to be out there supporting all Clemson students. I have open office hours weekly for people to bring me ideas, questions or concerns, and our organization is committed to attending all kinds of events around campus. Transparency among student government, the student body and the administration is a key to taking the first step to solve the problems we face.

Q: Some of the ideas mentioned in your platform seem too good to be true, like the test moratorium the week before final exams. Do you see this as an attainable goal for this academic year?

Nicki: The test moratorium is actually a very attainable goal, and we are currently working on legislation to get a resolution passed in Undergraduate Senate. For the goals that are not as attainable as we had hoped, we are beginning to alter them in more feasible ways. For example, we wanted to extend the add/drop and withdrawal period, but after having some meetings we know this is harder to achieve than we originally thought. However, we have determined that the real issue is the slow return of grades in the beginning of the semester, so now we will focus on making professors more accountable for giving back grades in a timely manner so students can get a better feel of their success in the class early on.

Q: What is your go-to order at your favorite Clemson restaurant?

Joey: I have three favorite restaurants in Clemson:

  1. The Esso Club — Bird Dog and Onion Rings
  2. Todaros — Buffalo Chicken Stromboli
  3. Cookout — A chicken strip tray with two beef quesadillas and a peanut butter oreo milkshake

Nicki: My favorite Clemson restaurant is Red Bowl, and my go-to order is a bento box with sesame chicken, an egg roll, white rice and a spicy tuna roll.

Q: Both of you are involved in Greek organizations, a faction of college life that is often under fire nationally. Why do you think it is important and beneficial to add a Greek Stabilization Committee to the CUSG Executive Board?

Joey: Greek Life comprises more than 25 percent of our student body, yet before this year, there was no direct representation of Greek Life in student government. Many other schools have Greek Affairs Committees, and we thought it would be beneficial here to combine Greek and non-Greek students together in an effort to bring all voices into the discussion. We want to transcend the “Greek barrier” and offer an opportunity to bring the entire student body together in the fight against campus-wide issues.

Q: Give us one piece of advice that you have for freshman Tigers.

Joey: Whether you have everything planned, you have no idea what to do or you’re somewhere in-between, if you just enjoy college and follow your passions you’ll find success.

Nicki: Study abroad! Studying abroad was without a doubt my most valuable experience in college. It gives you a different perspective on the world, and I think it is something that every single person should do if they are able to. There is absolutely nothing like it.

Q: If you had to pick only one item from your agenda to be completed by the end of the year, what would it be?

Nicki: It’s a tie between having a test moratorium before finals and encouraging global engagement. Having a test moratorium is important because it will create a healthier environment during the last couple of weeks of the semester and allow students to focus solely on finals rather than stress out the week before. While encouraging global engagement is less tangible, I think it is equally as important to be aware of what is happening outside of the classroom and to encourage students to go abroad.

Q: Which item on your Clemson bucket list are you most excited to complete? (Or, if you have completed your bucket list, which item was the most exciting to complete?)

Joey: Getting my Clemson Ring was surreal and humbling — I’ve worn it every day since the ceremony, and I’m definitely proud of my ring tan line.

Nicki: I still haven’t been in Monsoon room, so I definitely want to do that before I leave!