Swipe left to keep

Kept articles are stored in your profile for you to read later.

Got it!

Helfgott & Keeffe: The ambitious, goofy, and effervescent

rival week


College of Charleston


Helfgott & Keeffe: The ambitious, goofy, and effervescent

Meet your new Student Body President and Vice President


If you recall, loyal Rival readers, I interviewed Alexandra Helfgott and Tripp Keeffe a few weeks ago during their impressive campaign for President and Vice President of our student body. Since that time, the votes casted in favor of these ambitious underclassmen, and I jumped at the opportunity to dig deeper into both their personal and student government related goals.

These two have determination that is nothing short of infectious, and their goals for their next year in these leadership positions are carefully calculated, articulate, and poignant. I had the pleasure of enjoying a sunny morning at Kudu with the illustrious Helfgott/Tripp duo to discuss their excitement, reservations, and hopes for their next year in Student Government Association.

Why did you choose CofC?

Alexandra: I chose the College of Charleston because i wanted to be in an honors program, and I wanted to be in a challenging environment -- And, who doesn't love the city of Charleston and all that it has to offer?

Tripp: I chose the College because it's in a historic and very tightly packed together. I'm from Columbia, so i was also considering USC, but USC is so spread out. Here, everything is so dense. There's so much to do, so many people to interact with, and so communities you can become a part of. There's just so much more is happening here than at other campuses.

Was there anything about when you visited the College that really struck you, beyond the obvious beauty of our campus? Was there something about this campus that made you feel welcome?

Tripp: I didn't really have a typical visit. I just came down for the interview weekend for the Honors College. Something that struck me when I come down for that was that the professors and the people they had conducting the weekend seemed to really pay special attention to you, I felt like I was going to be a recognized student here, not just another numbered student that came to the College. That personal attention was something that stuck out when I visited.

Alexandra: I would like to echo that. There's definitely that sense of "Southern hospitality," and I think that is evident when you come to this school.

What drew you to student government in college? And why pursue such heightened positions in this organization?

Alexandra: Here at CofC and in SGA you can make a tangible impact. In high school [student government], it was planning events or sitting on for interviews, whereas here at the College of Charleston, if you want to change something, SGA gives you the resources and support to do that.

Tripp: I agree. I pursued election to be a senator because I had done it in high school and enjoyed it there. I really enjoyed the higher offices once I could see what SGA could do. If you have an idea for a club, SGA can make that. If you see some problem on campus, SGA can address it. We have a tangible impact, like Alexandra said.

Do you think thats different from other clubs or organizations on campus? If so, why do you feel SGA is particularly unique in being able to enact change on campus?

Tripp: I think the distinction are the resources that SGA has at our disposal and the authority we have been granted as an institution here. The things under its umbrella of things it can do, it has a bit of a wider scope than other organizations do.

Alexandra: I agree.

Do you ever doubt your choice in coming to the College of Charleston? If so, is there anything you feel that you could do through student government next year that could remedy those doubts of your choice?

Alexandra: I think it's natural to second guess big decisions such as picking a college or picking a major. I certainly, at the beginning of my freshman year, was wondering, "is this the right place for me?" But, I think with time and patience you slowly become acquainted to the school.

Tripp: When I started this year, I didn't know if this was the right choice. I hoped I made the right choice. But, I think honestly through student government, I found a niche on campus. College is difficult to navigate -- it's like a different world. Sometimes you don't have the support structure to help you navigate. But, through SGA you meet people like Alexandra and Meredith who are ahead of me and navigating well. They're like mentors that can show you the process. I think SGA can promote that, and I think that's why Alexandra and I talked about, when we campaigned, making the campus a more cohesive community. We want to help people navigate the transition into college, especially if they're a part of an underrepresented community or if they're a first year college student they don't have that network of support with their family potentially, and they need someone to help walk them through that process, and I think thats what SGA has the ability to do.

We here at The Rival have a motto of "Community first." So, if developing the CofC community is your goal for next year, what are you most excited about in creating communities, and how will you go about doing that?

Tripp: This past year, this current administration came up with a cabinet system. It hasn't really taken shape yet, and Alexandra and I want to shape it [after President Faikes' model]. The goal of student government is to represent the various interests differences on our campus; the various different communities and clusters of people that have different experiences. We want the people in these cabinet positions to be going out to these clusters of individuals, and seeing what their ideas are, what their issues are, and what their ideas for solutions are to bring it to SGA. Sometimes, we don't come from all the different diverse communities represented here on campus. I feel like sometimes, we can be a bit of an echo chamber.

Alexandra: I agree, and I would like to echo that we hope to step up our media presence this next term. Really put SGA out there so students know what SGA does and how we can help students in fostering and building these communities. We also would like to promote other events going on around campus, because so many times we see clubs doing great work and we hear about it in Senate, but does the rest of the school know about it? That's another big goal of ours -- stepping up our media presence to promote what we do and what other clubs are doing.

Tripp: People talk a lot about the importance of promotion, and getting the word out. I personally didn't really see it, but then with our campaign... I think one of the biggest reasons we were so successful was the way we campaigned and our social media presence. We have definitely seen the benefits it can have and we'd like to bring that to SGA.

I'm really glad you mentioned the Presidential Cabinet. I know President Faikes brought this idea about with really cool intentions. Can you tell our readers about what the Cabinet is, what roles will it include, and how can students get involved?

Alexandra: The Cabinet consists of various liaison positions, such as Diversity, LGBTQ+, Off Campus, Mobility, Academic Affairs...

Tripp: ...and Greek Life. Basically any community on campus that has a unique experience. If you're somebody that commutes, you're going to have a different experience than someone living in the dorms. If you're from the LGBT community, you have a whole host of experiences that other people aren't having. The idea behind it is that we are going to meet with them every other week, we meet with these liaisons and hear what SGA can do to help.

Alexandra: Its really just extending our resources and networks to pockets of our community that we don't usually reach out to. We are lucky to have the framework that President Faikes and Vice President Gil laid out for us, and we are excited to take it a step forward and really incorporate these positions into student government as a whole.

Alright, here's the kicker. You're gonna hate this question, I just know it. It’s 2027. What are you up to? How many pets do you have? Where do you live? What do you do for fun?

Tripp: Well, I can go ahead and answer with the pet question: I plan to have at least one, max two dogs. I love dogs. I think the best kind of dog is a golden retriever. and maybe I'm biased, because that was my first dog, but they are the best! Now, the rest of those questions...

Alexandra: Ten years from now, I hope to have graduated from the College of Charleston, and I hope to have graduated law school. In my spare time I think I will enjoy traveling and spending time with friends and family as I do now.

Congratulations to Alexandra and Tripp and best of luck in your endeavors in Student Government Association next year!