Spring is in the air. The flowers are blooming, the bumblebees are buzzing and the Student Government candidates are campaigning. Student body presidential and vice presidential hopefuls started campaigning Monday and will have until the end of the month to sow their new ideas for Student Government before the USF student body votes.
Six presidential candidates are running, along with their vice presidential running mates, and each has a unique plan to lead and serve USF.
Presidential candidate Justin Bragan and running mate Jonathan Dawson are both Resident Assistants. Unlike their competitors, they have no previous experience with Student Government (SG) but have worked with the organization extensively, Bragan said.
“We have a heart for students,” said Dawson, referring to their RA experience.
As student body president and vice president, Bragan and Dawson say they would improve the Bull Runner routes, improve and increase campus safety by funding campus police officers and security and develop more and larger events on campus to encourage student involvement. They also want to redraw the campus map to include pedestrian walkways and better-labeled buildings, and create a signage system on campus that better directs new students.
Presidential candidate Nathan Davison and his running mate Cordell Chavis both have Senate experience. Davison has spent four years in SG and is currently Senate President. Chavis has had less experience with SG, but he has “worked closely with the community,” according to Davison.
“We’ve seen the good and bad in Student Government. We can offer perspective,” Davison said.
Their platform consists of working closely with the USF community to forge better relationships; create more accessibility between SG, the students and the administration; and increase student support for athletics and school spirit. They also want to host a weekly WBUL radio and television show and encourage the creation of new student organizations, according to their Web site.
Ryan Iacovacci and Sriram Madhusoodanan are running for president and vice president, respectively. Iacovacci has been a Senator since January, while Madhusoodanan has worked with the Center for Student Involvement. They created United Students For Community (USFC), a student organization that brings together different students. They also want to encourage more student involvement on campus.
“We want to empower students to be heard,” Madhusoodanan said.
Their platform focuses on community, sustainability and diversity. Iacovacci said they have been on the “receiving end of Student Government apathy” and that they need support from a wide variety of students to change anything on campus. They want to provide the opportunity and inspire students to push for change. Iacovacci and Madhusoodanan also said they want strengthen the community at USF and address any miscommunication at its source.
Gregory “Butters” Morgan is running with Thomas R. King Jr. for president and vice president. Morgan is a Senator who stuck with SG through its periods of controversy last semester and King is the SG Comptroller. Along with then-Senator Megan Latchford, Morgan spearheaded the “Our Shirt” project that sold more than 13,000 shirts. Their combined six years of experience in SG have allowed them to see ways to improve its structure and ensure financial responsibility, King said.
Morgan and King want to improve the relationship with Student Affairs.
“The bridge has been broken since the fall,” Morgan said.
They also want to increase student involvement by listening to what students want.
“We want the student body to give us an opinion of what they want us to be,” Morgan said.
Their view of SG is one of “servant leadership,” in which it exists only to serve the students. Morgan and King are running “to serve with integrity and honesty” and not for their resumes, Morgan said.
Presidential hopeful Justin Hall and running mate LaNard Taylor claim experience is their biggest asset as they vie for SG’s top offices. Hall is the Chief of Staff and Taylor has been with SG since the Fall 2007. Their extensive experience in student government and in state and local politics make them competent leaders, Hall said.”We’ve been around,” Hall said, explaining that they’ve already developed relationships with administrators and would not have to endure that learning curve.Hall and Taylor want to promote campus safety by having more “true lights and blue lights,” and making sure there are enough operators for all the blue lights. They also want to create a more community-based campus where students can feel home all the time, improve academic advising and build a sense of pride at USF.”We’re here to listen to the students,” Taylor said.
Nicole Randazzo and Ruth Damys are the only all-female ticket, but they have more than that to bring to the community, Damys said. Randazzo is the Senate Pro Tempore and Damys is a Senator and an active member of Club Creole.
“We represent a variety of different organizations,” Damys said.
Their main focus is serving the student body by cutting the money that goes to the executive cabinet and giving it to student organizations that can put it to better use. They also want to hold frequent town hall meetings to voice student concerns. In addition, they will lobby for an extended add/drop week and a better class system that will make more classes available on more days. Randazzo and Damys also hope to improve campus security and expand parking in Greek Village.
“We’re really committed,” Randazzo said. “We love USF and we want to spread that love.”
Students will be able to vote Feb. 26 and 27 at www.sg.usf.edu/?q=vote.