TWER would like to be able to say that we, as disenfranchised alumni, picked Auburn junior Whitley Kelley to profile for the hard-hitting series we had planned around this year’s SGA elections completely at random. But to discover the reason that we can’t say that, as well as a reason to vote for Whitley for Miss Auburn, you need only look at her.
To find the right reason to vote for her, you have to go to the SGA website and download the PDF that explains her platform, or go to the Student Center and try to look like you’d really like to find out more about becoming an undergraduate research assistant if only you knew how, and let her explain her platform to you personally. TWER recommends this approach. You get the best of both worlds: beauty and brains.
Nothing against her competition, not in the least (Whitley says they’re all good friends — half of them are her Alpha Gam sorority sisters, in fact)… but of all the noble platforms to run on, Whitley’s — “Magnifying Research Opportunities on Campus” — is almost certainly the most academic, the brainiest, the most pertinent to the point of college: learning, education, specifically research, a word which Whitley will remind you is on the Auburn seal. Yes, in addition to being a War Eagle Girl and a Camp War Eagle counselor, Auburn’s Kate Beckinsale is an undergraduate research assistant for Dr. Ya-Xiong Tao, a professor in Auburn’s school of veterinary medicine investigating the genetic causes for human obesity (“So it’s pretty relevant stuff”).
“It’s hard for undergrads to get involved with [research], there’s not really a program for it and it’s kind of hard to make those connections,” says Kelley, who landed her gig with Dr. Tao completely by chance. “Being Miss Auburn, you’re the hostess of the university, but it’s also a position of service, and for me, I thought about ways to give directly back to Auburn. There are so many great platforms that the other girls have, but some of them aren’t necessarily directed back at Auburn, so that was a big thing for me in choosing my platform.”
Does Whitley have a shot with such an un-pageanty cause? Sadie and I tracked her down at the student center last Thursday, the first day of campaigning (it was too cold and wet for them to hand out the stickers on the concourse), to find out… to get a feel for what a Miss Auburn hopeful from Walker County has to do to get her point across and win the crown… by convincing folks that there isn’t a crown in the first place, or a swimsuit competition, or anything. Just a job, just a year’s worth of (even more) service, just an even greater commitment to Auburn.
We left with stickers on our shirts and hope in our hearts. Vote Whitley Kelley for Miss Auburn on Tuesday, February 8. Ballot position No. 4… or as we like to call it “Ballot position No Duh.”
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