Nicole Bowden smiles nervously as she paces the Set in her bright-orange suit. This is more than a student election for Bowden. The 18-year-old freshman attendant candidate has a rich family legacy to live up to.
Bowden is the great-granddaughter of former Ms. FAMU, LeKay Bain and is only one of the many incoming students who are vying for a position at the collegiate level for the first time.
“I see myself trying to follow in her footsteps. Even if I don’t win I would still like to execute my platform points,” Bowden said. “I really look up to (Bains). I want to be Ms. FAMU. Hopefully, I’ll be able to win without a runoff.”
The biggest entering freshman class in Florida A&M’s history set the precedent for this year’s larger-than-life election season.
Students were able to declare candidacy at the SGA explosion earlier this semester.
With over 60 candidates vying for 8 freshman class senate seats, candidates appear to be raising the stakes against their opponents.
The races have been full of eye-catching techniques and slogans designed to get platform messages across to the over 3,000 member voting body. The candidates are pulling out all of the stops to make sure their message stands out on a packed ballot, dressing in kimonos and bee costumes and passing out candy along with the standard for eight freshman class senate seats, some candidates said the stakes have never been higher.
While some of the candidates came to campus with a strong support system to help them through the election process, others are small-town students who say they are looking to stand out on campus.
Harry Cecile Spear, 19, a first year agriculture student, said the campaign process has made the transition from his hometown of Griffin, Ga. much smoother.
“I’m a simple guy,” said Spear. “Being in a city like this is huge to me, I hope to make more personal connections with students. They won’t remember me because of a poster they saw. They’ll remember me from a personal conversation I had with them.”
Unlike Bowden, neither Alexis Garey nor Jonathon Owens have a long legacy but said they have been best friends since sixth grade.
As Garey and Owens waited for election results well into the night in front of the office of student activities, they said running for president and vice president with their “GO Hard” campaign was a difficult experience, but one that brought them even closer.
“We’re more than best friends,” said Garey. “We’re basically like brother and sister. If we are fortunate enough to win, there won’t be a rough transition period because we already know each other.”