Cesar Hernandez, the next Student Government (SG) president, and his vice president, Spencer Montgomery, have been waiting for this day for quite some time: their inauguration.
For both Hernandez and Spencer, the reality of their new job has not set in, they say. But the tandem, whom have been preparing for the day they enter office since the election results were announced March 17, hopes the ceremony will make it “more real,” Montgomery said.
“I’m up every morning at 8 a.m., and I’m on campus at 9 p.m. every day. There’s so much to do, and I’m not wasting any time,” said Montgomery, who is currently SG associate director of Student Life and Traditions. “There’s always someone to meet and someone to build a relationship with – even if, right now, they can’t help you with anything you’re trying to do. One thing I’ve learned in (SG) in the past year is people you never think you’ll need – you will need their help.”
Senators for the 51st SG term will also be sworn in at the ceremony, which starts at 4 p.m. in the Marshall Student Center (MSC) Oval Theater, said Joseph Anastasio, program coordinator for the ceremony.
Jennifer Belmont, who was re-elected as Senate president Tuesday, will formally announce her position, he said. After that, the Oath of Office for Hernandez and Montgomery will take place.
Hernandez – who will take office May 10 – said just because the ceremony is today doesn’t mean he hasn’t been working. He won 57.5 percent of the 2,587 total votes in a runoff election. Hernandez ran against SG Director of University and Community Affairs Andrew Cohen and former Senate President Pro Tempore Matthew Diaz.
The election was filled with grievances – including one from Cohen against Herndanez’s campaign – filed by candidates and a portion of the initial election results was thrown out after an investigation revealed voter discrepancies.
“April 22nd is the ceremony, but we started the day after we were elected,” Hernandez said. “The only thing we promised was reform and taking this university to another level, and we are going to be held accountable (to) that. Every minute is precious to us.”
To prepare for the job, Hernandez and Montgomery have carried a copy of SG statutes and USF regulations with them every day, conducting daily meetings in the MSC dining area to go over what they learned, Montgomery said.
Hernandez began accepting applications for executive branch positions this week and said he will choose strictly by qualification – even mentioning Cohen as a possibility.
“Right now, we are going to be hiring the people we need,” Hernandez said. “By the time the summer is over, we want to have everything in place for the year.”
Current SG President Juan Soltero and Vice President Bruno Portigliatti have committed to help Hernandez and Montgomery with the transition.
“We took on a number of projects, but at the same time we wanted to build a foundation for the incoming administration,” Soltero said. “My hope is that our legacy is remembered where we did a lot of projects, but we left an impression on the students.”
Three of the main projects Soltero, a political science major, has worked with were extending library hours to 24 hours Sunday through Thursday, implementing a GPS tracking system for the Bull Runner bus system and establishing “USF Day,” an end-of-the year party for students.
While campaigning, Hernandez and Montgomery ran on three platforms: dialogue, awareness and greatness.