By Miranda Wilder, Staff Writer
Sophomore Cameron Cook, who is running for Student Body President at UNH, is prepared to make a difference that lasts long after his time on campus.
With a campaign slogan of “It’s about you, not us,” Cook seeks to make the university a better institution with as much stability and positivity for the students as possible.
“Ryan [Grogan] and I are tired of seeing the great ideas disappear with people who graduate,” Cook said. “The goal is to create something that is long lasting – two, five, 10 years – for students and a variety of organizations.”
Grogan is running as Cook’s vice president. The two-man team discovered they have similar ideals after they met this past winter break.
Cook moved from Orlando, Florida to Springfield, Massachusetts at a young age, where he spent most of his childhood and teen years growing up in a supportive family.
“My family is very loving, compassionate,” he said. “They’re the type of people I can fall back on whether something’s going good or bad.”
Cook came to UNH intending to major in history, but after taking a political science course he decided to switch his major to political science with a minor in justice studies.
“I got so fascinated in it,” he said. “I changed my major and since then politics has been one of the center-points of my life.”
He even has an uncle, Robert Cook, who is a former member of the Canadian bureaucratic system.
“Politics is a really good career choice,” he said. “It gives you a lot of opportunities after you graduate.”
His dream job, however, is to one day become the governor of Massachusetts. Cook has his sights set on a master’s degree—he has not yet decided on any particular graduate school, but would like to remain in New England.
“We’ll see really where the job market takes me,” Cook said. “I’m even open to the possibility of teaching.”
Cook is taking several of the many principles he has grown up with and using those as key points in his campaign.
“My number one principle is stewardship,” he said. “I was raised under the principle of serving other people. I take a lot more pleasure in seeing others do good work and [seeing] the work I do help others.”
Another major principle Cook has acquired throughout his upbringing — and seeks to include in his campaign— is humility.
“Credit is not one of those things I’m looking for,” he said. “I’m not looking for glory. I’m looking to see the hard work I’ve put in pay off. As long as I seek that humility and stewardship, I feel like I’ve done the job.”
Cook and Grogan seek to re-organize the student strategic plan. Grogan originally planned to run for president as well, but after Cook heard rumors of all the work he was doing with Sexual Harassment & Rape Prevention Program, SHARPP, the two became good friends and realized their ideals similar and joined forces.
“We have a lot of the same ideas,” Cook said. “A level of connection.”
Student safety and rape prevention is something Cook stands for immensely. A member of the Phi Mu Delta fraternity himself, he has started spreading awareness by visiting fraternities at their chapter meetings.
“It’s tougher to get to 12,000 students,” he said. “[Grogan] and I want to calm that rape culture as a whole. We really want to see things tangibly happen, rather than just talk about it. We want results – campus safety.”
He and Grogan thought it better to start small by getting the attention of student organizations and fraternities on campus, so that they can eventually get to the bigger picture.
Phi Mu Delta is not endorsing Cook since one of his fraternity brothers, Lincoln Crutchfield, is also running for student body president.
Cook’s campaign is also focuses heavily on the allotment of finances and budget distribution on campus. The way the university’s financial system is set up, every organization is given a certain budget. He wants students to have more responsibility in managing that money.
“We want to see that each unit is using its money efficiently,” Cook said. “On an administrative level, we hear a lot about things aren’t responsible enough, efficient enough, and we want to see what we can do to change that. We all pay enough to go here anyway, we might as well get the most for it.”
Cook and his campaign also seek to create a Student Adviser Committee with the UNH Police Department. The hope is that this will help build an understanding between students and the police regarding mass gatherings, rape prevention and “a million different other things,” Cook explained.
“[Grogan] and I believe UNH Police is vital to maintaining safety here on campus,” he said.
Cook and his campaign have been visiting countless student organizations, fraternities and hall councils to spread word of his candidacy. So far, both Hunter and Engelhardt Hall Councils have endorsed Cook’s campaign. As for the rest of Cook’s prospective endorsers, they are waiting for other candidates to propose their campaigns.
“That’ll change this week, as the names get more public,” Cook said.
Cook has been a student senator, a Judicial Affairs chairperson, and is currently vice president of his fraternity—he has not lost an election since his junior year of high school.
“[Grogan] and I truly see it as an opportunity, not just a stamp on a piece of paper or something for the resume,” Cook said. “We’re gathering the pulse of students and seeing what interests them. It’s the students’ agenda first, not ours.”