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Student body presidential candidates begin campaigning

Campaigns from a field of six student body presidential nominees will begin covering campus today with signs, posters, stickers and T-shirts in hopes of becoming the next chief Student Government (SG) representative.

Candidates can start campaigning today for the Feb. 27 to March 3 elections.

Each presidential nominee is attached to a vice-presidential running mate and the winning ticket will become employed by USF at a salary of $12,600 for the president and $12,600 for the vice president, or $10.50 per hour at 30 hours per week spanning 40 weeks out of the year, said current student body Vice President Zachary Johnson.

Brian Goff, a junior majoring in biochemistry, is the SG attorney general under student body President Matt Diaz. He said he’s running because while in Diaz’s administration he saw an opportunity to empower the students.

“They come out, they want to petition (and) they’ve made it known they’re not satisfied with the status quo,” Goff said. “So my biggest thing is advocating for the students. If that means no new fees, no tuition increases (and) fighting those things, then that is what we’re going to do.”

If elected, Goff said he would make SG more proactive toward communicating with students.

Both Goff and his running mate George Papadeas, a junior majoring in business and marketing, are brothers in the Delta Kai fraternity. Goff said he wanted to team with Papadeas because of his “grass roots connection to students.”

Goff said he and George have raised about $4,000 toward their campaign and are prepared to spend another $1,000.

With 10 years at the University, two undergraduate degrees and a pending master’s degree in public administration, Christopher Cano said he and running mate G. Paul McCreary, a grad student in the College of Public Health, are likely the oldest ticket on the ballot. Cano said some things have not changed much in his USF career, while others have.

“With me being at school for 10 years and starting my third degree at USF, I know what it’s like to feel your tuition triple on you,” he said. “When I started paying tuition, it was $75 per credit hour. Now it’s damn near $200 for undergrads.”

As president he would ensure the Board of Trustees uses student money wisely, he said.

This does not mark Cano’s first attempt at political office, having run and lost in 2009’s SG student body president election and for a district seat in the Florida House of Representatives.

His and McCreary’s campaign budget is likely to be between $1,000 and 2,000, Cano said.

Christina Hughes, a senior majoring in economics, has been involved with groups such as the National Council of Negro Women, National Society of Leadership and Success and SG, where she serves as a senator for the College of Business. She said those in power need to start listening to students.

“There’s a reason why we can’t get the face of officials and that’s because we’re not in Tallahassee,” she said. “Every other school, UF, UCF, has a lobbying group. We’re not there. They don’t know who USF is.”

She said so far her and running mate Muhammad Shakir, a junior majoring in communications, have raised $700, mostly from friends and family. Hughes said she could continue to raise money up to $1,500.

Sarah Pollei, a junior majoring in biology, is a resident’s assistant and is involved with National Resident’s Hall Honorary, Students United Muslim Society, Pride Alliance and USF Chemistry Society. She said she decided to run after she was approached by other students she had worked with in her organizations.

“I actually worked closely with Cesar Hernandez, the past student body president, and I thought I was really involved in the University,” she said. “I had a lot of support for it, and so I decided to move forward.”

Pollei said her campaign with running mate Antonio Morales, a sophomore majoring in criminology, is also interested in sustainability and making sure USF continues its commitment to green energy.

Alan Ethington, a junior majoring in business economics, said he chose to run because he was “not satisfied” with how “the University was spending my funds.”

He said he would “virtually eliminate” or significantly reduce the Gold Zone parking spaces, which are reserved for faculty and staff members, to free up more student spots. He also said there should be more free copies available to students.

Shipping off to boot camp this summer to become a U.S. Marine, Ethington said he doesn’t think it will distract from his job.

“While I’m in Paris Island, I’ll have 11 to 14 hours per week of free time, so that’s the time that I would actually have budgeted to work,” he said. “I believe the military ingrains a great amount of discipline in a student.”

He said he and running mate Nicholas Piracci, a senior majoring in business marketing, have saved $2,750 and hope to raise $1,500 more.

Omar Rodriguez, a junior majoring in history, said he and running mate C.J. Abeleda, a junior majoring in psychology, wants to create a location on campus “where students can express themselves creatively.” For example, he said, they could create a statue of a bull that students could paint whenever they like.

Rodrieguez said he wants to increase the marketing of SG info sessions and reach out more to student organizations.

“We really want to hold monthly info sessions and meet with student organizations and say, ‘Hey, do you want us to go to your student organizations meetings and explain different services and resources we have available right now?'” Rodriguez said.

So far, they have raised $2,000 toward their campaign, but expect to add another $1,000.