An inside look at SMU Student Body President Blake Rainey

By MacKenzie Korsi

Sitting back in his chair at the conference table in the Student Senate office at SMU, Student Body President Blake Rainey reflects on his journey to the presidency, wearing a bright yellow-collared shirt and matching yellow and black Air Jordan shoes. Students at SMU have become familiar with Rainey over the past year throughout his successful campaign for student body president of the school’s 103rd Student Senate, but they may not recognize the man behind the suit in all of those RED RAIN campaign photos.

Student Body President Blake Rainey at his desk in SMU's Hughes-Trigg Student Center during our second meeting. Photo credit: MacKenzie Korsi

The success of Rainey’s time as president started long before he stepped on the Hilltop for the first time. Rainey’s involvement with the Boy Scouts of America ignited his focus on identifying and achieving goals. Throughout his six years with the program, Rainey participated in summer camps and meetings while earning merit badges. He eventually rose to the highest rank in the program to receive the honor as Eagle Scout.

“I just really liked having such a big goal and then working toward it for many years, and then finally achieving it,” Rainey says. Rainey also picked up his motto for tackling any large project in his life in Boy Scouts.

“How do you eat an elephant, you know it’s one bite at a time,” Rainey’s scoutmaster said, describing the dedication necessary for achieving Eagle Scout ranking.

Now, President Rainey applies that motto to his time at SMU, describing his upcoming graduation as another elephant in his life. The senior studies both management science in the Lyle School of Engineering and management in the Cox School of Business, hoping one day to pursue entrepreneurial business ventures. Academics have always been the first priority in Rainey’s life, reflected both in graduating valedictorian of his high school class and in his strong academic success balancing a double major at SMU. Rainey may surprise many, however, with the goal he hopes to achieve before graduation in the spring.

“Before I graduate, I would like to have completed my Air Jordan shoe collection,” Rainey states confidently.

Student Body President Blake Rainey at his desk in SMU's Hughes-Trigg Student Center during our second meeting. Photo credit: MacKenzie Korsi

Rainey began collecting at a young age, starting with comic books and moving to the 23 special Air Jordan shoes his sophomore year of high school. His shoe collection began initially because Air Jordan shoes gave Rainey the chance to gain respect among his peers. The high school Rainey attended was predominantly African American, and he used his shoe collection to stand out within his community. Rainey continues to wear his collection at SMU, donning two different pairs at Student Senate meetings, one black and yellow and another white and grey (pictured). He collects the shoes in order, and now owns pairs one through 18, confident that he can find 19 through 23 before his graduation to finalize his personal brand.

Another trademark of Rainey’s is his soft-spoken nature. Taking a few moments before answering each question to think, Rainey focuses on answering every question honestly and using the opportunity to reflect on his response.

“I don’t like to talk too much,” Rainey says. “I feel like when I speak it should be adding to the conversation and pushing it in a certain direction.”

His focus on intentional listening and responding carries into his role as student body president, as well. To Rainey, the most important role of the president is acting as the voice of everyday students. He served as a member of every level of Student Senate over his first three years at SMU and wishes to amplify the voices of fellow students in his new role as president. Rainey says at SMU, “everyone has an equal voice, even me.” Starting conversations and effectively intermediating between the students and the administration drives Rainey’s focus as he begins his new role as president.

Rainey’s campaign platform, “Reform, Empower, Deliver” and common sense attitude to make SMU a better place for all students saw success in the voting polls and will continue guiding his term as president. The senior explains that he based his campaign off of the issues that he saw on campus because he assumed the problems concerning himself also concerned his peers. Focusing on ways SMU could improve purely through simple conversations with the right people, Rainey ran for student body president and was sworn in at the end of the semester in the spring of 2016. Now as president, he actively works toward fulfilling his campaign goals by executing his plans to fix the problems students see on campus.

I could not be more thankful for having the honor and privilege of serving as the Student Body President of SMU next year! I want to thank everyone who supported this campaign and reached out to all their friends to vote so that every voice could be heard. A special shoutout to my Campaign Manager Jack Makin and Press Secretary Chrissie Phillips; without them and my hardworking team, the campaign would not have been nearly as successful as it was. I also want to congratulate my opponent for running a fantastic campaign and I look forward to working with her next year on Senate to implement many of the great initiatives she spoke about in her platform. I could not have asked for a better team of executives to work with and I know that together with VP Fletcher, Secretary Jones, and GAO Potter, Senate will make such a huge impact on this campus next year. Thank you again to everyone who posted, promoted, and reached out to help the campaign these last two weeks. The hard work has just begun and I promise I will not let any of you down. #RedRain2016

A post shared by Blake Rainey (@red_rain28) on

When asked what he wants students to know about him, Rainey promptly answers that he would like students to invest in SMU and make their voices heard by visiting the Senate website and scheduling office hours or coming to chamber meetings and speaking at the speaker’s podium. Both opportunities give students the platform to speak about changes they wish to see at SMU and talk to the senators that can help make those changes happen.

So whether it be an SMU issue you want to address or a conversation about his Air Jordan collection, Blake Rainey is open. He said, “I’m an approachable guy. If [you] see me walking around campus, please do not hesitate to come up to me and start talking to me.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *