By: Online Editor Hayden Vick and Staff Writer Luke Cullifer
Trust, humble, tangible, realistic. These were most common among the words put forth by Bradley Opere during our Saturday afternoon with the Student Body President candidate.
A Kenan-Flagler Business major from South Africa, Opere began his campaign with different student perspectives in mind. His logic here was that if he could find a way to cater to and represent as many Tar Heel perspectives as possible, he could do the most good for the most people. Opere told us that he wants to shift the general attitude felt toward politics, specifically finding more ways to cater to millennials. He plans to do this through the utilization of social media. More specifically, he wants to develop more content people will be eager to share via social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook.
Opere is a huge advocate for public service, and therefore feels humbled by politics’ ability to unite people for a common goal. He expressed to us that constant, effective communication is one of several aspects that make his platform unique; he expressed that communication is always the key to producing tangible outcomes from realistic plans for the short term of 8 months held by SBP.
We gathered, perhaps more than anything, that Opere is truly a man of class. He had nothing but kind, encouraging words for his fellow candidates and current SBP Houston Summers. Moreover, he elaborated on how humbled he is to have so much support for his platform and his campaign as a whole. Someone of wonderful character, Opere is thrilled for the opportunity to vie for Student Body President.
Luke has more on our interview with Opere this past Saturday:
When asked to give a word to describe his campaign Opere simply said: “Believe.” That word speaks highly to the plans he has for the UNC campus if elected SBP. In fact, believing will certainly be an important part to whoever claims the office with the past year bearing witness to the rise of several issues and incidents, with race playing one of the loudest roles. When questioned on his plan for dealing with racial relations on campus, Opere laid out a plan of grassroots organization that he believes would result in more success. Under Opere’s plan, each leader of on-campus organizations would be asked to attend special race-inclusion seminars and be educated in how to make Chapel Hill a more accepting student body. Opere hopes that these group leaders will then transfer the training they received to their organizational members, allowing for a more localized form of education. By implementing this plan, Opere believes students will receive a more personal and in-depth look at minority issues, creating a more tolerant and racially sensitive campus at large.
Outside of this major issue, Opere also spoke on how he wanted “tangible” goals for his administration. He noted the fact that SBP is only an eight-month term and that within those eight months only so much could be done, a thought he kept in the back of his head when deciding on his policy stances. With such a limited amount of time, Opere believes that efficiency, organization, and communication will be key aspects to running a successful student government, but perhaps none is more important to Opere than the latter. Communication is something the SBP candidate spoke highly of, saying that his leadership style was not one of “taking charge” but rather one of facilitating conversation and letting the best ideas come from the people to whom he speaks. It is for this reason that Opere wants people to speak freely with him about the issues they see at UNC, but he also wants to hear their ideas on how to make things better. More than anything, he spoke about how he couldn’t get this job done alone. Instead, Opere noted that he will need the help of the entire Carolina Community if he is going to make a difference as SBP and that we, as a student body, are going to have to put in more effort in order to see a healthy, vibrant campus community.
However, Opere’s belief in communication is not merely about hearing; it is also about speaking out. He admitted to us that there are some issues a SBP simply has little control over, noting the appointment of Margaret Spellings as one example. Opere had issues with the BoG appointment of Mrs. Spellings late last year, but when asked what he could do, he admitted that the SBP for UNC was not particularly a powerful vote on the issue. He did, however, say that while his voice may not have mattered much he would still use it with all the force he could muster. During the times where his power was limited, Opere said that he would still be the voice for UNC students, crying out against whatever they may oppose, even if those cries fell on deaf ears in the past. This determination to speak up and speak out on behalf of UNC continued as Opere was questioned about UNC’s place in the Association of Student Governments (ASG) of North Carolina. Over the last few years, UNC has seen a decrease in standing among this state body, and when asked what he would do to change this he started by saying that he would once again speak up. He explained that he plans to attend ASG meetings regularly, providing a face to be associated with the state body and ensuring that Carolina would always have a powerful voice within the meetings.
Finally, Opere spoke on his ability to unite UNC students around a common goal of community. Perhaps this is the largest issue in the Opere Campaign as they hope to collectively foster a greater sense of community and inclusion across the sacred paths of our campus. Some may consider Opere a factional candidate, but when asked whether this was true, Opere responded with a simple word: no. Instead, he argued that his campaign is focused on unifying Carolina rather than alienating different groups from one another and nodded toward his platform to prove that. Members of his team represent nearly every interest field at Carolina ranging from the Greek Community to that of Campus Y-Advocates to Young Democrats and College Republicans alike. Opere believes he has a crossover platform that unites the students of Chapel Hill under a common goal of making this University even greater than it already is. How does he plan to do so? He plans to rely on the students, from every walk of life, that would make up his constituency, hoping they will step up and lead alongside him. He believes this will be the case under his administration, and that is why he is asking for your vote.