Grayson Hawkins stands at the crosswalk waiting for the light to change. He wears his campaign’s t-shirt that he designed himself and shakes the hand of a student nearby. He asks the student, “Do you like my shirt?”
It’s all a part of Hawkins’ mission as the front man of the Hawkins-Kiefer campaign to get feedback from students and to use his platform ideas to make change at the University of Tennessee.
“I think my freshman year I was just like a lot of students,” Hawkins said. “I noticed a lot of things wrong with the university, and I complained. And complaining is defined as pointing out an issue without proposing a solution.”
Now, Hawkins is proposing solutions in his campaign platform that addresses issues like sexual assault and the disconnect between the student body and the Student Government Association.
“I think the SGA has a huge capability to be something more,” Hawkins said. “Right now, it feels like this exclusive club. It could have so much more of a voice. So much more sway and power if the student body would organize around it. That’s just not happening right now.”
Hawkins is running on the ballot alone since his vice presidential running mate Aimee Kiefer dropped out. But he said he believes that this changes nothing.
“I’m willing to collaborate completely and fully with anyone as long as they respect the fact that I’m trying to make meaningful changes,” Hawkins said.
On Monday, March 30, Hawkins will participate in a debate with the other two competing campaigns.
“I’ve been prepared for this debate for weeks,” Hawkins said. “I’ve had my platform revised by so many different people. I even posted it on Reddit, and they tear it apart every single time. Not always logically but believe me I’ve had every person thwart my ideas, and I’m prepared to defend them completely.”
Hawkins hopes to make an impact with what he accomplishes through SGA.
“Hopefully, the things that I accomplish and just the aura I put out in the SGA will encourage so many more people to run next year,” he said. “I just want to put our SGA on that next level.”
Above all, Hawkins wants to make a difference.
“I’m trying to catch those people that actually care,” Hawkins said. “I want to make the SGA work for the average student.”
Learn more about the Hawkins-Kiefer platform by clicking here.
Voting will take place on March 31 and April 1. You can vote online at votesga.utk.edu.
Edited by Maggie Jones