Presidential Runoff 2022: A Closer Look

Student election season has been long and stressful for everyone. Campaigns have been plastered everywhere, appearances have been made and voting has started. With all the commotion of an election, it can be easy to forget about the people behind the campaign.

Sydney Castle is the face of her bold red campaign of inclusion and diversity.

Rhys Prosser is defined by his charming campaign of working for students’ representation.

Beyond the political faces they put on are just two people who care about SMU and its student body.

“I’m very excited to work with her in whatever capacity that’s going to be and I’m excited to see what the 109th Chamber of Students Senate brings at SMU,” Prosser said.

Stepping Up To The Plate

Neither candidate set out to run for Student Body President, but after encouragement from their friends, they were convinced.

Castle was not always confident in her abilities. Over the past three years, she feels she has grown as a leader and is still on her journey of self-discovery. At a Hunt Scholar retreat earlier this school year, someone approached Castle to ask her about her campaign plans for Student Body President. She never saw herself in that position, but her good friend, Brooklyn Dean, reminded Castle never to doubt herself.

“That was the moment that everything kind of switched. I think there’s something to be said about people that have the ability to make you believe in yourself,” Castle said.

Prosser remembers receiving a call freshman year from former Student Body President Darian Taylor congratulating him on being elected as student body treasurer. During the call, Taylor mentioned how he always saw Prosser as Student Body President.

“As someone who was so impactful in my early SMU career, him having the confidence in me to say that really pushed me to consider it, and things started to change for me,” Prosser said.

Both candidates have come a long way from where they started in Student Senate with the support of their peers.

The Price You Pay

This election has shown the nasty side of social media. During campaigning, several candidates for Student Senate had comments posted about them on Yik Yak. The anonymous social media site allowed other students to comment hateful rhetoric about candidates. Student Senate released a statement condemning hateful speech on SMU’s campus.

“You cannot get on there and attack somebody’s humanity,” Castle said. “It’s absolutely unacceptable.”

Castle and Prosser were not safe from these comments and both expressed their love-hate relationship with social media during their campaigns. While they valued platforms like Instagram they feared the hate they would receive on Yik Yak.

“You’d be lying if you said it wasn’t somewhat nerve-wracking to put your face all over campus,” Prosser said. “To put yourself on social media to be vulnerable like that, it’s tough to do.”

Looking Ahead

The candidates know they have a big role to step into following Student Body President Austin Hickle.

“I’ve been honored to be able to watch him grow to be the Austin Hickel we see today,” Castle said. “I respect him and love what he’s done with Senate.”

Both candidates look forward to the election results.

Voting closes on SMU Connect Thursday, April 14th at noon. Check out their campaigns on Instagram @castleonthehilltop and @prosser4president.

For the full interview subscribe to our YouTube SMU Look.

Lucy Ladis

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