The Ins and Out of Campaigning for SGA Election

An inside look of what goes into the campaign process for Morgan State’s 2023-2024 student government association candidates.


Elijah Pittman

The candidates for 2023-2024 Student Government Association president and vice president. Pictured are Kayla Clark, Brooke Foyles, Adrian Phillips, and Tyrane Graham.

Jordan D. Brown, Editor in Chief

Campaigning for the student government association elections is far more than writing a speech and proposing new initiatives you could bring to the university.

A lot goes into the campaign process like formulating a strategy plan, establishing a budget, creating a social media and campaign team, designing flyers, photoshoots and more.

The process takes weeks, months, and even years of preparation for candidates aspiring to fill the seats of the university’s top student leaders.

Adrian Philips, a junior elementary education major, knew he wanted to run for SGA president before he even started his freshman year at Morgan.

His experience in student government while in high school inspired him to run for freshman class president in 2020, and continue the reign as both class president in his sophomore and now junior year. He hopes to expand his reach to the entire student body as SGA president next year.

“Once I found out that I got accepted into Morgan, I already had my eyes on SGA because I had previously served in SGA my high school and then I wanted to continue because I loved it just so much in high school,” Phillips said. “Coming in with my freshman year, I already pretty much had it planned out that one day I would become SGA president and I would run for SGA president.” 

Phillips is running with junior Tyrane Graham, SGA vice president candidate, as the Evolution Administration. Phillips’ campaign process for the past three years has consisted of establishing why he would like to be in each position and creating the best possible campaign that will cater to Morgan’s campus.

“First, you have to outline your why and then you have to outline your initiatives and the things that you want to do,” Phillips said, “Once you have your foundation, because you can’t have a campaign without those things. So once you have a foundation then you can look at ‘Okay, what things is it that I need to produce the best campaign but also to pretty much introduce myself to either class or the campus?’”

Phillips does this before getting into the nitty gritty, creating the best campaign possible. 

Cultivating photoshoots, and purchasing products like pens and wristbands for his campaign cost the duo up to $300 of their own expenses.

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While costs of campaigning may fluctuate for each candidate, Phillips said the Office of Student Life and Development does not encourage students to overly spend money towards their election needs.

“Being in SGA, we always ensure for candidates to never blow a bag on your campaign or blow it on unnecessary things,” Phillips said. “The cute things are nice, maybe like candy and like juice, water stuff, like it’s all up to you. However you also want some things that are long lasting, so things like pins and wristbands and stickers.”

In other campaigns such as Brooke Foyles’, expenses have totaled up to $700. For Foyles’ campaign as a SGA president candidate, her layout included a multimedia production, photoshoots, and graphic design. 

The junior nursing major said, “The costs for pictures and videos alone was like $600 and then outfits for the videos was like another I think like $140.”

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The birth of her campaign goes back to eight months ago, when she began her term as junior class senator. After serving as sophomore class senator and preparing for another year with the junior class, she began to look ahead as to what her senior year would look like in the SGA.

“Deciding what you want to do starts after you get your next position,” Foyles said. “So I kind of start thinking like, in the fall, last summer. Like, what do I think about doing if I wanna continue SGA, how can I set myself up, then choosing a running mate? Just trying to think like, who am I best compatible with? That took about two, three months.”

Once she selected junior Kayla Clark as her running mate, the two hit the ground running by drafting a social media team and reaching out to students on campus that could produce graphics and photos for their campaign.

Foyles and Clark dedicated their campaign to show how much they care for students and Morgan, hence the name, The C.A.R.E. administration.

With conversation, application, rejuvenation, and education at the forefront, Foyles and Clark plan to seek student input on issues like housing and financial aid as much as possible if elected into their desired positions.

“I really want to focus on those main things so that we can start building because then from there, we can get all the solutions that we need to start working to make Morgan better,” Foyles said.

Xavier Washington, a sophomore business administration major, took an individualistic route for his run as Mister Junior. Instead of getting a group of people to create his graphic designs and post his content on social media, he decided to lead on his own. 

His campaign, Students of Success (S.O.S,) mirrors singer SZA’s latest SOS album cover, which was brought to life in a video created by his production team, Morgan students Emmanuel Durojaiye and Jewel Champbell.

The video widely circulated across social media among Morgan students, and even outside of the Morgan community with over 23,000 plays on Instagram and Facebook.

“I didn’t want to have the typical rollout,” Washington said. “Since [campaign season] was three weeks long, I kind of wanted to prolong it. So like you know how the album rollout is usually they dropped like a visual or something as a teaser. That’s kind of what I did with my first post that like fake went viral. And then I dropped the full trailer and everything which was like a minute long after that.”

Aside from the creativity in his campaign, Washington wants to bring out the creativity in the rising junior class, and ultimately the entire student body at Morgan.

“My campaign was heavily focused on creativity and individuality and everything. I felt like creativity. Individuality was kind of like an issue within our campus. joining organizations was kind of like something I really wanted people to focus on,” Washington said.

Although he is running unopposed, Washington is still dedicated to campaigning for this position and establishing some of his standards, such as increasing students’ involvement with community service.

“During my reign as Mister Junior, I really want to focus on working towards more community service, not just for E-Board positions on campus. But I want to encourage every student to do some type of community service,” Washington said.

As Washington managed most of his campaign, his only costs were towards his video and photography additions which cost $350. Like Phillips, Washington said the amount of money spent does not reflect how well a campaign is run or your likelihood to win the election.

Washington’s best advice was not to over buy things for a campaign as he said, “because yes, you’re running for an official position on campus and everything. And yes, you’re trying to garner as much attention as well, but just because you have a lot of stuff on your table, doesn’t mean people are going to walk over there.”

Candidates like Washington, Foyles, and Phillips are more than the money they spent on their campaign and the flashy photoshoots you may see on social media, but they are vocal students vying to lead Morgan’s student leadership next year.

Candidacy for Mister and Miss Morgan State University, along with SGA President and Vice President are among the several positions for vacancy in the annual SGA elections. Here is a review of the top candidates for this year’s election and their initiatives below.

SGA President and Vice President

  • Brooke Foyles and Kayla Clark The C.A.R.E. Administration
    • Conversation: Foyles and Clark strive to have real conversations with students about topics plaguing their college experience like housing conditions, financial aid, and campus safety.
    • Application: The duo would like to apply new efforts such as required student check-ins with advisors and customer service forms with the financial aid office.
    • Rejuvenation: Foyles and Clark plan to listen to students’ safety concerns while incorporating more wellness days and investing into the entire student body’s wellbeing.
    • Education: Providing resources for scholarships and internships is at the top of the candidates’ radar if elected into these positions.
  • Adrian Phillips and Tyrane Graham The Evolution Administration
    • Establishing a student senate and creating a high school leadership program is a priority for Phillips and Graham, as well as increasing on and off campus safety and redeveloping the SGA organization.
    • Phillips and Graham plan to fight for LGBTQ+ support and increase support for first year students.

Mister Morgan State University

  • Terrence Gaskins The Forever Campaign
    • Gaskin’s three pillars are experience, family, and community. He believes these pillars will help mold Morgan into the most optimal university it can be.
  • Tyler J. Hairston Tyed Into Morgan
    • With his campaign, Hairston vows to shape the university’s own culture, add representation, build connectivity, and build male leadership on campus. 
  • Ralph Martin II The Be Y.O.U Campaign
    • Martin’s run for Mister Morgan State University focuses on bringing a new attitude and energy to the campus, adding perspective to what makes Morgan the school it is, and the originality of the Morgan experience. 

Miss Morgan State University 

  • Jade Berryman M.O.R.G.A.N The Masterpiece
    • Professional, physical, academic, and mental are the top factors of Berryman’s Morgan the Masterpiece campaign in her unopposed run for Miss Morgan State University.