Omar Khan and Ryan Morris transferred their power of student body president and vice president over to Bijal Chhadva and Andrew Aubery on April 29.
USF President Judy Genshaft joined students to gather in the Phyllis P. Marshall Center Ballroom to welcome the new Student Government leaders and to say goodbye to the old.
Before being sworn in as president and vice president, Chhadva and Aubery had to overcome some obstacles. A week before the induction of the new leaders, Chhadva and Aubery were faced with disqualification and had to appeal to the SG Supreme Court. The newly elected student body president and vice president had been charged with violating SG statute 102.7, which prohibits the use of physical or mental intimidation or abuse. A violation of the statute has a 10-point penalty that is sufficient enough to warrant a disqualification. Yet, on April 23, Chhadva and Aubery were found by the SG Supreme Court to not be in violation of the statute and were later sworn in.
“It was a hard campaign and we had people against us but we overcame it,” Aubery said.
During his inauguration address, Chhadva said he and Aubery would have to continue the hard work that Khan and Morris did.
“Omar and Ryan came out fair ahead this year (in their goals),” Chhadva said. “During the next year we have big shoes to fill.”
Looking ahead to the new school year, Chhadva explained some of his goals for SG. Chhadva said he hopes to create new cabinet positions, start a SG newspaper for the student organizations, and continue lobbying for equal funding.
“I know Omar said we do not have to be liked, but we have to represent the students,” Chhadva said.
Before becoming student body president and vice president officially, Genshaft gave Chhadva and Aubery some advice.
“Be the best advocate you can be both for the students and the university itself,” Genshaft said.
In addition, Genshaft thanked Khan and Morris for their dedication to being advocates for the students in their tenure as student leaders.
“There are three things to value for Student Government,” Genshaft said. “One, it prepares you for the future; two it allows you to be engaged with the USF community; and three, you can make a difference, establish traditions and shape USF.”
Before Chhadva/Aubery were officially declared as the student body president and vice president, they participated in the SG symbolic flag ceremony. The flag ceremony included a student representative from student activities, Khan, Morris, Genshaft, Chhadva and Aubery. The flag was passed around from the student representative to officially end the tenure of Khan and Morris and transfer leadership to Chhadva and Aubery.
Morris said when he and Khan ran last year, they carried a simple vision: leave USF better than they found it.
“SG has changed over the past year: we have registered voters, the SG Supreme Court hears parking appeals now, we have a SG adviser now, have the first presidential forum and have more students voting in the SG elections,” Morris said. “I will not stop working with students and SG (just because I am not vice president), because I want to make sure they learn what I have learned. Bijal and Andrew will not have to start over because I am here for you and USF.”
Khan had similar parting words and gave Chhadva and Aubery some advice as well.
“Thank you, Ryan. This year has been incredible,” Khan said. “Bijal and Andrew, set your goals, initiatives and whatever you think the students need. Do what is in your heart.”