Meet the candidates
Three students run in this year’s student body elections
Published: Thursday, February 13, 2014
Updated: Thursday, February 13, 2014 02:02
For the next two weeks, students on campus have the opportunity to find out about the candidates campaigning in this year’s student body elections.
This year, three candidates are in the running to become one of the most influential students on campus: Brandi Arnold from the College of Business, Jean Cocco from the College of Arts and Sciences and Danish Hasan from the College of Arts and Sciences.
As student body president, the candidate voted into office will have oversight of the more than $14 million budget of student Activity and Service fees, direct communication with university administrators, a potential seat on the USF Board of Trustees and will represent students at the university at local and state levels.
Some of the other powers of the student body president include nominating, with the approval of the Student Government Senate, Supreme Court justices, directors and employees of the executive branch.
Student body elections will take place Feb. 24 through Feb.27.
Brandi Arnold, a junior majoring in business management and communications with a minor in leadership, said she wants to see USF “soar.”
Arnold, currently the executive director for the Campus Traditions Board in the Center for Student Involvement, Student Government (SG) associate director of programming and traditions, a USF Ambassador for the USF Alumni Association and a member of the USF chapter of the Chi Omega women’s fraternity, is campaigning with vice-presidential candidate Shaheen Nouri, a junior majoring in political science and philosophy.
Together, they are running on a campaign titled “SOAR,” or Safety, Opportunity, Advocacy and Ready.
“Ready means we’re ready to do this… We know what it’s going to take,” Nouri said. “We’re not going to take it lightly. We know exactly what it’s going to entail.”
Nouri is SG’s solicitor general, vice president of the USF Pre-Law Society, legal liason of the Phi Alpha Delta law fraternity at USF, a member of the USF chapter of the Sigma Nu fraternity, a member of the USF Persian American Revival Society and a student researcher at the USF Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR).
Arnold said she hadn’t thought about running for a role like student body president months ago, but said her leadership roles at USF, working with administration and being an advocate for students in the Center for Student Involvement, prepared her to run for office.
“I never realized that everything USF has given me was leading up to this point,” she said. “…I’m not a politician, I’m a student leader who loves politics and understands it, but is just really out for the good of the students.”
In the SOAR campaign, Arnold said safety and opportunity are the most important issues for students to succeed at the university.
“Safety is No.1 in my heart. We will preach that win or lose in this election,” she said. “Opportunity is the reason I’m sitting right now talking to you. I believe students should be given more opportunities and willing to really fall in love with university.”
Arnold said the opportunity to get involved on campus is what was most important in her time at USF, previously working on USF Homecoming steering committee with university administrators and alumni and serving as vice president on the USF Panhellenic Council.
As student body president, it is opportunities such as the ones she was given that she hopes to give to students across campus, she said. To do this, she plans to making students more aware of more job opportunities on campus and create positions to help students be more involved.
“We want to have that … voice of the students who don’t have time to be in organizations because they are so focused on academics,” she said. “I want the students who are in the medical field, in the business field, who just don’t have time to join a fraternity or a society.”
Nouri said advocacy is important for Student Government when issues such as funding for the Library and other student services arise, keeping “the students’ issues at heart with every issue.”
“Students need to trust that whoever in that role will always do that,” he said.
Arnold and Nouri said they plan on putting together a taskforce for safety around campus, focusing on issues such as lighting around campus, which Arnold said she was concerned about when she participated in last year’s N.I.T.E. Walk, and road and vehicle safety, which Nouri said he has improved by doing safety studies with CUTR.