By Brandi Wylie ’24, Student Intern

Three Wofford students took the initiative to bring political views to the stage during the 2022 election season.

Emma Sutton ’23, an environmental studies and government double major from Fort Mill, South Carolina, is president of the Wofford College Democrats.

She worked alongside two of South Carolina gubernatorial candidate Joe Cunningham’s campaign interns, Anna Troutt ’24, a government major from Spartanburg, South Carolina, and Caroline Payne ’23, a biology major from Columbia, South Carolina, to bring Cunningham to Wofford on Oct. 19.

Payne joined the campaign during the latter half of the summer. She did work with the campaign’s voter database and canvassed online.

Troutt says her involvement included event building and advancement, which proved to be helpful for the on-campus rally.

“(The rally was not finalized) until a week before the event, so it was a huge accomplishment to pull off this event in a safe way while still attracting a large crowd with a very quick turnaround,” Sutton says.

After working with the college’s events staff and Cunningham’s team, the three were able to put the event on in ample time for students to consider Cunningham’s points before they cast their ballots.

“The goal all along was to reach college students,” Payne says. “It makes students feel more involved in the campaign when they get to meet the candidate as well as ask questions and take pictures. They feel like they have a little bit more say in the election process and who they are voting for.”

Although not on the ballot for the 2022 election, former Vice President Mike Pence took the same stage as Cunningham just one day earlier.

Payne and Troutt said Cunningham’s visit the next day was a coincidence, but they are glad that different sides of the political spectrum were present so closely together.

Pence’s visit was sponsored by the Hipp Lecture Series on International Affairs and National Security. After his lecture, Pence accepted questions from students.

Katie Kirk ’25, a Spanish major from Greenville, South Carolina, researched Pence’s upbringing and found that he went to a small liberal arts institution like Wofford. As a government major, she was curious how his education in such a place translated to his success in the political world. Kirk says she appreciated having an opportunity to ask a question during the event.

“I hope that Wofford students will exercise their rights to vote, especially since we did the WoffordVotes initiative through the Office of Campus Life,” Troutt says.

Earlier in the semester, Campus Life held a voter registration event and provided resources and contacts for students to assist them through the early voting and absentee voting processes.

Allen Lollis, assistant dean of students for residence life and dean of the sophomore class, acted as the staff leader for this initiative. He says he appreciates various campus organizations for supporting voting efforts.

“WoffordVotes is formally housed in the division of campus life and student development, but several groups outside of our area also worked on voter registration and participation efforts this year, including the library, the Center for Community-Based Learning and the Community Sustainability LLC, to name a few,” Lollis says.