Q&A with Claire Dickson, homecoming queen candidate


CW/ Claire Dickson

Jackson Fuentes, Contributing Writer

Q: What is your year, major and hometown?

A: I’m a senior, and I’m an accounting major with a specialization in professional accounting and I am from Glencoe, Alabama.

Q: What inspired you to run for homecoming queen?

A: I’m sponsored by Delta Sigma Phi. It’s a professional business fraternity, and I used to be the president of that for two years, and me and the current president were talking about my platform, which is the LIFT program because the adviser for the LIFT program is actually a faculty member of our organization. I was just talking about it, and I’ve done LIFT all four years that I’ve been here for every single semester in some kind of different form or fashion. And I have gotten pretty involved on campus in my four years here, and me and the president were just like, “Why don’t you just endorse LIFT in some big fashion.

I don’t know what you’re going to do, how we would do that, but you’re really passionate about it, and we would love to support you,” and so we came up with the idea to run for homecoming queen. And I think that it’s so powerful to run for that here because there’s 37,000 students – I don’t know if that’s an exact number – and there’s only eight candidates for homecoming queen. So, just being able to reach a huge audience of people and talk about the impact that we can make through LIFT and through my platform and just the great things that we can do through that, I think that it’s incredible. And that was something that I wanted to do, and also I want people to know you can vote however you want to vote and there’s not a right candidate.

Every single one of these women that are running for homecoming queen are incredible if you read their platforms and their bios, so I just want people to know that they’re empowered to vote for whoever they want to.

Q: Why do you think students should care about homecoming court?

A: Well I think that some people are always not going to vote, and that’s OK, but I think students should look at the platform that all of the women on homecoming court support, because they’re all very different and they all kind of touch people differently. So, I think that just kind of looking at the candidate, kind of learning more about them, learning about why they’re doing what they’re doing is something that’s important. And also just because all of these women are part of our campus, so if you’re related to them on no other level, you can relate to them because y’all both are students, and they’re trying to just improve the impact that this university can make.

So, I think that’s something that people should care about, because at the end of the day you can think however you want to think about people, but we’re all students together. So, I think that’s something that we should care about.

Q: What is your platform and why are you passionate about it?

A: The Culverhouse LIFT program, the purpose of it is to literally lift up the community around us to make them achieve success in their life. What LIFT means, it looks different, so LIFT can mean we go into high schools and teach high school students career and college readiness. Some of the students get college-ready prep because some of them are going to college, and some of them don’t plan on going to college and that’s OK. I think for a lot of students, it’s just learning how life is going to function after you get out of high school, and so that’s one way that we do it.

Some of the schools that we go to, I don’t think they would necessarily have that knowledge or information if we weren’t there, so that’s really fun. We also go to the Tuscaloosa VA and we help veterans who have been deployed and who are now back and would like to have some skill sets for jobs. So whether that’s Excel, or we do a QuickBooks class which is kind of like a bookkeeping software, just things that they didn’t receive because they were doing so many other incredible things, so we help them with that. We help senior citizens, and they just kind of want to learn basic skills so they can talk to their grandkids and connect with old friends. I don’t think of learning how to use Skype as something important because I’ve always been taught how to do that, but for someone who wasn’t taught how to do that, it’s something they really cherish and value.

So, LIFT to me is just kind of using the skills that we’ve been blessed to be given and to teach them to other people so that they can better themselves, so that’s what I love about it. LIFT is something that I can be passionate about because it’s something that, I guess, I’m qualified to do it. I’ve gotten all this training and I’ve learned all of these things and this is something I can do. I’ve seen the impact that it has, so I’ve been in high schools and I’ve seen kids get eager about going to college just off of the things that we teach. And I’ve been in senior-citizen classes where they figured out how to Skype their grandkids. That’s so silly and little, but it’s so important to them. We actually go to the Bibb Correctional Facility and teach classes to inmates, and so just seeing them care about yes, they know the situation that they are in, but they want to try and better themselves, and it’s really impactful.

I even got to travel with LIFT to Haiti this past summer because our adviser for LIFT has set up some relations down there through the University, and we get to go down there and it’s almost kind of like pro bono consulting. So, we’re helping these people, but we’re not just giving them something, we’re teaching them how to be successful and profitable on their own, which is ultimately what they need to better themselves and their community anyway. I guess what I love about LIFT is you really are able to see the impact that you are making, and if you drive five miles down the road in Tuscaloosa, there’s people that don’t have a lot, whereas we walk around on marble floors and we have all of the stuff here on campus. So we really do have a great platform in this community to help people. That’s why I like it, I think.

Q: Why should students vote for you?

A: I hope that students will vote for me just because they’ll see how passionate I am about my platform, but also just how passionate I am about this university. I’m from Alabama, I love Alabama and I love Tuscaloosa, but at the end of the day I just want to see our campus and our students thrive and just be the best they can be, and I think we have some of the best students in the country in my opinion.

I’ve gotten to participate in some recruiting events for the University and so I know the quality of students that we get, and so I guess I would hope that people would vote for me because my platform is a great platform, but also because I love this university, and I love every single person that goes here and every single person I meet. I’m passionate about them and I hope that they can be passionate about me.