Student body presidential candidate Lauren Bullock and vice presidential candidate Kevin Hines stand together after the Student Government Association elections debate. Photo by Chris Crews.

Lauren Bullock, a senior sociology major is running for student body president. Her desire to run for the position has been fueled by her passion for education as well as her desire to help other students succeed.

Bullock wants to either work for Teach for America in Hawaii or the Peace Corps in South America as a health specialist after she graduates.

Bullock began working for the student government when she was sworn in as secretary for diversity affairs in May 2016. During her time in the position, Bullock has worked on several projects to promote diversity in regard to race, religion and gender. Bullock has also been working on improving the inclusiveness at UNC Charlotte. She said that while the school is already so diverse, that is completely different than being inclusive and she sees a great need in improving that aspect of UNC Charlotte.

“Our university’s administration is predominantly white, so giving not only students views but also a person of color’s views on inclusive matters is really important and I would really like to see more ethnicities and identities represented in SGA so that it’s not just one side of the spectrum,” Bullock said.

Outside of SGA, Bullock is the vice president of the Black Student Union, which is the first organization she joined as a freshman at UNC Charlotte. Bullock is the reigning Miss Mu Tau for 2016/2017 which is a pageant that is put on by the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.  When she ran for the title, her platform was to engage people of color to join in outdoor activities for the benefit of their physical and mental health and through that she became heavily involved with Venture on campus.

Running alongside Bullock is Kevin Hines, a sophomore political science major. Hines serves as a voting member on the hearing panel for the Judicial Branch. This position includes reviewing student conduct cases and determining educational sanctions and learning opportunities for the student involved in the case. Outside of SGA, Hines is a Niner Guide, a mentor for the Leadership Fellows Program, which he is a graduate of, the treasurer of the Mock Trial team and the office coordinator for the New Student and Family Services office on campus.

Bullock and Hines were introduced through mutual friends when Bullock was an orientation counselor. Bullock believes that she and Hines are a good pair because while he has a fiery personality, she, a self-described calm spirit, balances him out.

The pair is running on the platform “Cultivate the Community.”

“We feel that community is what Charlotte embodies whether it be the UNC Charlotte community, whether it be the greater Charlotte community, or different locals who give to our community,” said Bullock.

Their platform is based on three pillars. The first, “ensuring safety and quality life,” emphasizes the safety of students, whether it’s walking from the library to their car, making students who fear the possibility of deportation feel safe, holding students who use derogatory terms or post threatening messages accountable or ensuring the safety of students of color on campus.

The second pillar, “strengthening our social network,” is focused on improving the communication between the administration and students as well as communication between student government and students. Bullock believes that the communication needs to grow exponentially and become timelier.

The third and last pillar is “upholding noble Niner values.” This pillar focuses on accountability and giving students avenues to hold the student body president and vice president accountable and ensure they are accessible. Upholding the values includes upholding “Niner pride.”

According to Hines, Bullock will “make an excellent student body president due to her outstanding professionalism, ability to remain calm and collected in high-stress situations and her unwavering determination to improve this university for all of our students.”

“For me, the university is home and I know for Kevin, it’s home and we want everyone to feel that way and to never feel like they don’t have ownership here,” said Bullock.

Voting opens at on March 28 at 8 a.m. and closes March 29 at 5 p.m.