Carson Hollingsworth and McKinsey Patterson would not have considered themselves friends until they were dangling about 50 feet in the air during an Emerging Leaders class’s field trip. Wrapped in each other’s arms, the two got to know each other.
“We realized, ‘Maybe he’s not such a tool,’ and, ‘Maybe she’s not such a tight wad,’” said Patterson, a junior and nursing major.
Now, the two reminisce this moment while eating at Moe’s, campaigning for Student Government Association president and vice president.
“I know him as a person first,” Patterson said. “I know where his tickle spots are, but I also know him as a leader.”
Hollingsworth has been involved with SGA since his freshman year and has always questioned running for president. He believes that SGA is starting to become “an elitist group who also likes to wear the business suits,” which disconnects from the student body.
“I don’t think that SGA has done a good job necessarily with advocating for every single community, every single group of students here on campus and actually trying to reach out and get to know what they’re doing and why they’re doing it and be passionate about it,” he said.
He revealed to Patterson in late January during an IGNITE team retreat that he was interested in running, but did not know who he should run with.
“And I said, ‘I wish I could help you out,’ because I didn’t think about it,” said Patterson. But after realizing her passion for advocating for students and her love for UT, the two decided to run together.
“I trust her with my life,” Hollingsworth said, “and we’re amazing leaders together on and off campus. Why not do it in this sense and roll?”
Patterson and Hollingsworth have held multiple leadership positions. They have both been Orientation Leaders, IGNITE Team Leaders, Emerging Team Leaders and were both elected president of the United Residence Halls, Patterson for Morrill Hall and Hollingsworth for Reese Hall. But unlike Hollingsworth, Patterson has little experience in SGA.
She was elected as a senator her sophomore year, but would soon decline because her hall director would not work with her going to SGA meetings and RA staff meetings. She has, however, also served as a Center and Leadership Ambassador, has been a part of Leadership Knoxville Scholars, and leads a campus ministry bible study.
The two believe their involvement in and out of SGA will help the organization with UT’s student body.
“I’m not Greek and he is,” said Patterson,” but he’s never been involved in an RA campus ministry (like myself).”
Patterson believes that UT is the “Disney World of college campuses,” adding that the students have helped shaped who she is today.
“I didn’t think the way I do about myself now, or my potential, until I got here and got to know my peers,” she said.
While the campaign does have a policy packet, Hollingsworth and Patterson encourage voters to focus more on the people instead of the packet. Hollingsworth added that Will Freeman and Madison Kahl, current SGA president and vice president, did not have a policy for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion defunding.
“I hate that it had to happen that way (…) but towards the end I saw something that was special because you saw SGA working with all these different organizations, collaborating to do something to benefit the student body, and you rarely see that with SGA,” he said. “It was cool to see the students come together like that. That’s what SGA should be here for.”
SGA elections begin Tuesday and winners will be announced Thursday.
Photo courtesy of the Hollingsworth Patterson campaign Facebook page
Edited by Jessica Carr