Campaign season for the university’s annual personality elections opened on Sept. 4 as students began campaigning for the titles of Mr. and Miss Ole Miss and other homecoming court positions like Homecoming Queen, Homecoming Maids and campus favorites.
During the window of time between the beginning of campaign season and voting on Sept. 18, Business Row has become crowded with brightly painted wooden signs bearing catchy slogans and well-dressed students bearing smiling faces.
This year four candidates are running for the title of Mr. Ole Miss (Jarvis Benson, Mack Hubbell, Mikhail Love and Chauncey Mullins) while three candidates (Hannah Bullock, Jessi Lockett and Jessica Tran) are competing to become Miss Ole Miss. Hallie Gillam is running unopposed for Homecoming Queen.
The effects of campaign season do not extend solely to Business Row but also to social media, where candidates post headshots announcing their candidacy with paragraphs explaining their platform and videos displaying their personality.
According to the ASB Constitution and Code, during the duration of their terms, Mr. and Miss Ole Miss are supposed to partner with a local charity of their choice. In this capacity, they work with the ASB director of community service to increase awareness of the charity as well as to encourage students to volunteer with and donate to their selected charity. Each candidate has based his or her campaign around an idea that can relate to a charity organizations.
Benson is a senior international studies and Spanish double major and Black Student Union president and his campaign platform is centered on finding affordable housing for Ole Miss students. He hopes to work with LOU-Home, a nonprofit which utilizes community resources to partner members of the Lafayette-Oxford community with emergency housing.
Benson said that exclusivity is pushing many students who are unable to afford housing prices out of the college experience.
“I have come to understand that there is a huge problem in our community,” Benson said. “The beautiful town that so many of us call home has become exclusive.”
Mr. Ole Miss candidate Mack Hubbell is a senior integrated marketing communications major. His platform, “Ole Miss Always,” strives to foster a sense of camaraderie between Ole Miss students that is perpetuated even after they leave their time as students behind.
“The shared common experience as students of Ole Miss is stronger than anything that could divide us,” Hubbell said.
Also running is Mikhail Love, a senior public policy leadership major currently serving as the senior class vice president. Love’s campaign slogan, a play on his name, is “All You Need Is Love,” and his platform is promoting love for Ole Miss, for the Oxford community and between students.
Chauncey Mullins is a senior public policy leadership major whose platform centers around creating an atmosphere of inclusion at Ole Miss — something he experienced first-hand during his junior year as a community college transfer student.
On inclusion at Ole Miss, Mullins believes that “it does not matter how or when you got here — this is your Ole Miss, too.”
In the campaign for Miss Ole Miss are three candidates: Hannah Bullock, Jessi Lockett and Jessica Tran.
Hannah Bullock is a senior journalism and integrated marketing communications major whose involvement includes being an orientation leader and serving as an executive for the Big Event. Her platform for candidacy is to promote a love for on-campus involvement among all Ole Miss students.
“This campaign is to remind all of us on campus that we each get to be such a special part of this place simply by being here and loving it in our own ways,” Bullock said.
Jessi Lockett is a senior biology major whose involvement includes serving on Panhellenic Executive Board and being an orientation leader. The goal of her campaign — and her hope for Ole Miss — is “to ensure that each individual feels that they are loved and important.”
Jessica Tran is a senior biochemistry major who serves as the Senate student director for the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and as president of the Ole Miss chapter of Active Minds, an organization which seeks to raise awareness of mental health issues on college campuses. The latter role inspired her campaign platform.
“Auburn, a school with only 5,000 more enrolled students than Ole Miss, has double the amount of certified, on-campus counselors (as Ole Miss does),” Tran said.
Tran hopes that, by serving as Miss Ole Miss, she could positively impact the Ole Miss student body by increasing the availability of counseling services on campus.
Hallie Gillam, a senior public policy leadership major, is running unopposed for Homecoming Queen. Voting for Mr. and Miss Ole Miss and Homecoming Queen is open to all students, regardless of their classification.
To vote, students need to log in to their myOleMiss accounts. After doing so, students wishing to vote must select “Get Involved” under the “Student” tab. Students can only select one candidate for each position, and students can vote from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on election day, Sept. 18.