After a record 3,775 votes were counted, Bijal Chhadva was elected student body president Thursday night.
Chhadva, who had the most votes in the general election with 1,102, garnered 1,769 votes to Brandon Faza’s 1,606. Election Rules Commission chairman Andrew Read said the combined 7,518 votes in the general and runoff elections was also a record.
Chhadva takes office May 3, but he said his and vice president-elect Andrew Aubery’s work starts immediately.
“We will spend a lot of time with (student body president) Omar Khan and (vice president) Ryan Morris, talking to them about the positions and what they do,” Chhadva said. “We need to make sure we understand every little thing that comes with this job and that we are as prepared as possible.”
Another priority, Chhadva said, will be to “study, study, study,” because campaigning has left him and Aubery with little time to study with looming final exams and only one week left in the semester.
Chhadva has said in the past few semesters that he took a bigger load of classes so when he takes over the role of student body president he can take a lighter class load and concentrate more on his job.
Faza and running mate J.P. Murphy said they see the defeat as a minor setback.
“As I look around and see the hard work that went into our campaign, both from J.P. and me and from our supporters, I don’t think we’ve lost anything today,” Faza said. “We’ve learned from this campaign, and J.P. and I will continue to work hard to make this university as great as we know it can be. We wouldn’t do anything differently if we had it to do over, because we ran on a platform that we truly thought was what was best for the university, and we still have other ways to help improve things for the students.”
Chhadva described his first day in office as one of excitement.
“The first day in office we (will) contact every student organization on campus and tell them we’re here to help them,” he said. “We (will) tell the student organization leaders that they are just as important as every other student organization leader, and that we want to do what is best for every single one of USF’s students think.”
Chhadva will be inaugurated at 10:30 a.m. April 26. Outgoing SG officers’ terms end at midnight May 2 before newly elected officials take office.