Student body president reflects on two-year term

By Maria Ranoni, MANAGING EDITOR
On April 20, 2019

Student Body President Moneer Kheireddine (right) reflects on his time in his role and said that his future beyond USF is still unknown. ORACLE FILE PHOTO

For graduating seniors, the end of the semester can serve as a time to reflect on their time in college.

One such senior is Moneer Kheireddine, USF’s student body president (SBP) who is wrapping up his second term.

Given his unique position of being a two-term president, he was able to have double the time to implement his campaign initiatives as some of his predecessors.

In that time, there have been successes and failures, but he said he is most proud of the National Panhellenic Council (NPHC) Commemorative Plaza that opened in February.

Nestled between the USF Federal Credit Union and the USF Post Office, the plaza took about 16 months to complete in terms of designing, funding and construction. According to Kheireddine, it took a lot of work from him and Vice President Shaquille Kent.

“I’m really proud to have been one of the people, one of the founders, that was able to kind of help push the initial funding and to start building the space and I think it’s only going to grow and grow in the years to come,” Kheireddine said. “I hope I get to be successful in the future and hopefully give back.”

Like Kheireddine, the last two-term SBP left behind something he hoped would grow to be a cornerstone of campus life: the current Marshall Student Center (MSC).

Mike Griffin served as SBP from 2001-03 and was an instrumental figure in getting funding for the MSC as students know it today. Most recently, he served as the chair of the USF Consolidation Task Force.

“Certainly, I’m proud of that building and what it represents and what it does by bringing the students together,” Griffin said. “Walking into that building, even today, has a very special meaning to me and I think students for many, many years will feel the same way.”

As many SBP’s, both Griffin and Kheireddine also experienced setbacks that prevented certain initiatives from being achieved and others needing to take priority.

“I felt like I failed more than I succeeded, and I think a part of that is being a harsh critic on myself, but I was able to try a lot of different things out,” Griffin said. “Working with a diverse team prepared me for growing a business after college.”

Kheireddine said that USF being in a transition state due to the looming consolidation, which requires USF’s three campuses to operate under a single accreditation, and the recently ended presidential search, his second term proved to have its own unique challenges.

“We had a lot of things we had to deal with this year that were external to our rules that other presidents never had to deal with like, for example, consolidation,” Kheireddine said. “That was a big thing that played a heavy role ... We were trying our best to manage that alongside our regular duties you know and on top of that you know it’s our senior year.”

Among his self-reported successes like the NPHC Plaza, and securing funding for an on-campus emergency transport vehicle and esports, some of Kheireddine’s campaign promises were not fully realized.

These include installing parking trackers in the busiest parking garages and lots, creating a campus-wide syllabus bank and ridding the minus of USF’s plus/minus grading scale, among others.

While none of these initiatives have been completed, Kheireddine said the parking trackers are fully funded and are merely waiting on construction plans. The syllabus bank and change in the grading scale are lost in the wind and still in the midst of negotiations, respectively.

Nevertheless, Kheireddine said he did his best to serve and connect with his fellow students.

He also said he didn’t mind wearing a suit to school on most days.

“I think in a lot of realities, this role really did teach me the value of not just being humble but of understanding that at the end of the day everything you do is in service to others,” Kheireddine said. “I think in any role that I take on after this that’s always going to be my main goal.”

In terms of future plans, Kheireddine said he doesn’t have it all figured out yet. What he’s sure of is that he wants to work in a creative field due to his love of writing.

When he graduates on May 3 alongside some of the students he served for two years, Kheireddine will still be expected to give his customary speech at his own graduation ceremony, in addition to the other ceremonies.

His last message to students?

“I encourage them to be authentic to themselves,” he said.

Griffin has his own advice for Kheireddine.

“I would say to Moneer, you want to run through the finish line,” Griffin said. “I know his time is winding down very quickly but I would hope that he leaves the university leaving it all on the field if you will and doesn’t go too far.”

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