U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris visited the College of Charleston on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023, as part of her Fight for Our Freedoms college tour. The vice president’s stop in Charleston presented CofC students with some great opportunities and experiences.

For example, Lilli Taylor, the College’s SGA student body president, introduced Vice President Harris to the audience at the Sottile Theatre.

“It was a tremendous honor and unforgettable experience to have the opportunity to introduce Vice President Kamala Harris for her Fight for Our Freedoms college tour,” says Taylor, a senior Honors student majoring in public health with minors in music and medical humanities. “She personally inspires me because my mom also immigrated to the U.S. from Asia as a teenager. As the first Asian American student body president at College of Charleston, it felt extra special to be able to introduce a vice president who has shattered multiple glass ceilings and serves as a role model to so many people across the country.”

Kamala Harris and Lilli Taylor

SGA President Lilli Taylor (right) introduced Vice President Kamala Harris at the College of Charleston on Oct. 11, 2023. (Photo provided by the White House)

Leading up to the event, Taylor worked with members of the White House, constantly communicating with them about logistics. And, as great as that opportunity was for her, she is most excited that the vice president had the opportunity to hear from CofC students.

“She truly is passionate about hearing from young people and believes that our generation holds the key to solutions for the future,” says Taylor. “One of the best ways for upper government administration to hear about what issues are important to college students is to directly hear from them. Given everything going on in the world right now, I am grateful that she took the time to visit our campus and speak with us! This truly was a day that I will never forget.”

Student asks questions of the Vice President of the US

Student Madison Meeks asks questions of the vice president of the United States.

The eight communication/political science majors who were appointed by their professors to serve as White House press volunteers (listed below) feel the same way:

  • English Brown, communication
  • Je’Wan Goodwin, communication
  • Julia Heslin, communication
  • Will Jacobs, communication
  • Sydney Long, political science
  • Liv Lott, communication
  • Jordynn Pinckney ’23, communication
  • Taylor Jade Schneider, communication and political science

“I was definitely surprised, yet so honored, when I first found out that I was selected to be a press volunteer,” says senior Honors student and Martin Scholar Sydney Long. “I had some experience with political communications over the summer while interning on the Hill in D.C., but I did not expect to get such a huge opportunity here in Charleston. I had to keep pinching myself all day to believe that White House staff were here and that the vice president herself was coming to speak. I have such a high respect for that office, and I was overwhelmed by how many students were excited to hear her speak today.

VP Kamala Harris talks to students at the College of Charleston.

“As someone who wants to go into political communications, today was my idea of a perfect day, combining my passions of politics and press, while also getting to see so much excitement and the behind-the-scenes planning,” continues Long. “I was surprised at how tightly managed the press on site were, as the reporters there were not allowed to go anywhere without being escorted by one of the press volunteers. It made me feel like the event was put on for the students, and the press just happened to be there as witnesses.”

“Just being able to play a small part in such an important day was an incredible opportunity,” agrees senior Julia Heslin. “Seeing the behind-the-scenes action of everything that went into making this event possible was really eye-opening and exciting. There were so many moving parts, and we really got the opportunity to see how everyone worked together to make the day go as smoothly as possible!”

“During my time in college, I have dedicated myself to pursuing a career in political campaigning,” says senior Taylor Jade Schneider, adding that it was “an invaluable experience: It gave me a glimpse into the world of high-profile political events and reaffirmed my aspirations to work in this field. Moreover, the event allowed me to learn and develop new skills which I plan to use in my career.”