Hillary Shepheard, a sophomore strategic communication major, is running unopposed for vice president for external affairs.
Shepheard divided her platform into three categories to enable students to focus on future career paths and come together as a whole on campus.
First, Shepheard said she wants to improve the relationship between the university and the city of Fort Worth, specifically when it comes to internships.
“The business school does a great job of bringing in outside businesses and allowing students to interact with them and get those internships, but I think other schools are lacking in that capacity,” Shepheard said.
Shepheard said she owns an advertising/public relations firm, Social Enginuity, which deals with social media advertising. Her client list includes Red Cactus and other local businesses with which she spends a lot of time to establish the most effective way to advertise their products.
“I’ve encountered a lot of things that they need that can be easily done by TCU students who can gain the experience and who can get paid at a good cost to the business,” she said.
Shepheard said her experience with her firm has helped her learn how to build and maintain relationships, a skill vital to this aspect of her platform.
Second, Shepheard said she would like to increase campus diversity and unity through student organizations.
“TCU has a strong reputation of giving back to the community," she said. "We’re very dedicated to community service, but you see that on a very individual basis. You don’t see that as a coming together for TCU, which I think would be a great community building type of thing."
When service is done, it is through individual organizations such as fraternities and sororities benefitting their philanthropies, she said.
Third, Shepheard said she would like to focus on all aspects of diversity, not just race.
“There is a big divide between whether you’re Greek or you’re an athlete or you’re a 'GDI,' as they say,” she said.
Shepheard said she wants the actual TCU student experience to be in line with the university’s mission.
“They say we’re going to be global leaders, but we’re not gaining well-rounded perspectives to even see other peoples’ experiences and what they go through in life,” she said.
Shepheard said one way she plans to diversify the campus is through a diversity summit that would bring together all organizations and have them discuss issues of diversity on campus.
“It’s not just about your background or ethnicity. It’s about diversity of everything,” she said.
Shepheard served as a house representative for the College of Communication in the the 2012-2013 academic year, but she said the length of her experience does not amount to what all she’s done while in office and in general.
“I’ve been in SGA for a year now, and I’ve been in it through the most controversial time I think,” she said
As soon as she became a part of SGA, she said she immediately began working.
“Writing legislation, talking to students, seeing what they actually want that could help them and being able to say ‘OK, we have the funding to do that’ is really cool to me,” she said.
Shepheard said she loves being a part of SGA.
She recently wrote a bill that proposed $500 to be used for a school supply section of the library, so students would not have to leave the library and buy supplies they need late at night, Shepheard said. She also helped to institute the availability of free scantrons on campus.
“I think my experience is different from others because of how much I’ve thrown myself into [SGA],” she said. “There’s no reason and no excuse that we shouldn’t be doing more than we are."
Shepheard’s campaign strategy
Shepheard said she was ready to campaign and was disappointed when she found out she was running for office unopposed.
“I spent three weeks before the campaign getting ready. I have every organization’s contact information, which I don’t think anyone else has.”
Shepheard said she also set up her campaign Facebook and Twitter but has not published them.
“Man, I went to town,” she said.
She said she has been focusing on starting her role as vice president of external affairs, but she has still been campaigning somewhat.
“Instead of just accepting and knowing I’m going to get the position, I’ve still gone out and campaigned because I want to be able to say that I’ve already connected to organizations.”
Going to visit different organizations and speaking to them about her platform has been a part of her "campaign strategy," Shepheard said.
“I want them to see my face and know who I am,” she said.
Shepheard's reason for running
There is a lot of money students are not taking advantage of, Shepheard said.
“I saw what was being done in SGA and became really frustrated,” she said. “When I’m very frustrated about something and I see the potential, that’s when I work my hardest.”
Shepheard said she enjoys writing legislation and talking to students.
“I’m really involved on campus, and I can honestly say I found somewhere I’m completely at home, and it is SGA,” she said.
Shepheard said she has experience that can benefit the university.
“I think my leadership experience is very extensive and the Ad/PR firm that I already have has helped me create a process and learn how to build, communicate and maintain relationships with Fort Worth businesses that I want to expand upon to benefit TCU,” she said.
Shepheard said she wants to serve as vice president for external affairs not only to benefit herself or her future but also to benefit the university.
“I found out from SGA, my passion is benefitting and helping others,” she said.