SGA is currently holding Spring 2022 elections, which includes class president, senator and student body positions. Voting will occur March 15-16, with results announced on March 17. Below is a feature on one of the student body president/vice president campaigns.
Tatiyana Larson, a fourth-year student at UNC Charlotte, is majoring in political science. Her dream of attending law school at Georgetown led her to join SGA. She served as sophomore class president in 2021, which led her to serve on the executive board as secretary for Student Affairs in spring 2022. She is currently planning a Safety and Security Walk that focuses on finding hazards and working with Facilities Management to fix them.
Tife Olusesi, a third-year, is majoring in political science with a triple minor in criminal justice, legal studies and American studies. He started in SGA on the Organizational Ways and Means Committee, where he approved clubs that wanted to become organizations. He later joined the Student Affairs Committee and became vice-chair, and is now chair of the committee.
The following transcript has been edited and condensed.
Will you tell me a little bit about yourselves?
Larson: I interned for a political campaign my senior year of high school. It was the Dan McCready campaign for Congress that sparked my interest in politics and helping out in the community. I’ve [worked] with off-campus housing to ensure that our off-campus students feel included when they come to campus and that they’re not isolated because they don’t live on campus.
Olusesi: Student Government has been the thing I’ve been thinking about since I first got on campus. There was more to do with Black Lives Matter and the movement for empowering minorities. I founded the Cultural Unity Board, which aims to unite these voices on campus and create a platform for them to feel heard. Being a part of the community means something to me—to be able to hear what people of various ethnicities and backgrounds feel about things that are going on campus.
What are your hobbies and interests?
Larson: I definitely am interested in going to law school [and] helping out the community. I’d like to work with civil rights. In terms of what I do off-campus, I’m a full-time student, and I have two jobs; I nanny and work as a server.
Olusesi: My two biggest passions are definitely music and film. I manage my best friend’s music. I also founded ‘We The Artistic Collective.’ [It’s] supposed to uplift minority singers, but in particular voices, rappers, singers, writers, musicians. [I like] engaging in all kinds of art, going to concerts, hanging out with my friends, writing and listening to music.
What is your platform, and why did you choose it?
Larson: Our platform is progress, unity and trust. [For] progress, we want tangible, action-based plans. We know you can’t just talk and not do anything. If we have action plans in place, whether that be for academics, Greek Life [or] student life, we can make progress. For unity, April 30 was the beginning of that. Then we ran into the pandemic, which has not gone away and has been difficult on students’ mental health. [And] the Black Lives Matter movement, which has impacted our community in Charlotte. We want to bring students together and focus on mental health aspects. [For] trust, we want to increase our transparency and communication with the University. Something we’ve seen [in] the past couple of years with the University making decisions is they’re not always transparent with us and [not] taking our input until it’s too late and decisions have already been made. We want to work with administrators and make sure that you’re getting active input from the student body to represent each student in making important decisions.
How do you plan to reach out to students and increase voter turnout?
Olusesi: By talking to students that we see around in our classes [and] in our social circles. [The goal of outreach] is to gauge student concerns. Constantly looking around and being aware of what’s going on in our community is the biggest way we’re going to raise engagement as opposed to people who are uninvolved with their community. When election time comes, they jump in looking for ways to reach out.
What have you done that helps you during your campaign?
Larson: I was a special needs gymnastics and cheer coach for five years. That helped me understand a different part of the community I [wouldn’t] have known otherwise. I grew to love all of those kids and helping them. I was a member of Alpha Delta Pi and served as the director of the New Member Experience. That role [allowed] me to get to know the new members of our sorority and teach them everything that we are about. That gave me the perspective of “I could do this elsewhere and in an even bigger capacity.”
Olusesi: I’m the community chair and co-political action chair of the NAACP on our campus. Being able to go around and help the community when it comes to homeless shelters and maternity homes for women without facilities to live in taught me what it means to provide leadership outside of myself. My mom runs a care home facility which has shown me the difficulties of someone [who finds it] difficult to help themselves. She’s one of the main reasons I’m dedicated to helping and uplifting people when I can.