is freshman year of college, Student Body President Moneer Kheireddine never thought this would be a role he’d want to step into, but a desire to give back has pushed him to fight for the chance to impact the student body.
Between two years in Student Government (SG) Senate, time spent working at Housing and Residential and a session as an Orientation Team Leader, Kheireddine has made connections across campus.
It’s these connections that he hopes will help him achieve his goals over the next year.
“It gives us a very strong segue into our administration because we’re not just these individuals they’re meeting for the first time,” Kheireddine said. “They’re recognizing that we are student leaders. We’ve worked alongside them already, they’ve seen our work ethic, they’ve seen what we’re capable of doing and they’ve seen that we’re very invested in what we do.
“So there’s nothing about proving it now. It’s about continuing that relationship and them having faith in us.”
Student Body Vice President Shaquille Kent also felt these relationships would be helpful, but because they’ve taught the two how to make connections, which he feels will help when it comes to building relationships with members of the other branches of SG.
The two were officially sworn into office Friday afternoon after seven weeks of dealing with grievances, being disqualified and getting reinstated by the Dean of Students, Danielle McDonald, a mere 30 minutes before the ceremony.
However, the two are working to move past these events that Kent said kept them from getting things started right after the election like they wanted to.
The two have positions to fill within the Executive Branch that will help shape how the next year will proceed. Their primary goal moving forward, however, is simple.
“Basically, ensuring that we are hands-on with the student body, making sure that we’re out there day-in and day-out getting work done, and not just staying in SG and overseeing things from that,” Kheireddine said. “We want to make sure that we’re with the student body that elected us and making sure that we’re representing them, making sure that we’re hearing their issues.”
For instance, Kheireddine said they’re working on plans for orientations this summer to actually be at the sessions and have an open forum for any students coming in to ask them questions and to voice concerns.
He said it’s important for students to know there are people in SG who genuinely care about them and their needs.
While trying to take things one step at a time, Kheireddine also has initiatives that he wants to get working on soon such as funding for the counseling center and pushing the Florida Legislature to require transfer students who have been found guilty of sexual assault to disclose such information.
“One of the biggest things that I talked about on the campaign trail was the Safe Transfer Act,” Kheireddine said. “We want to draft up a letter and send it to the Florida Legislature right away and urge them to push for this act. Currently, under Florida law, it’s not required for individuals who are trying to transfer universities and have been found of that to disclose it.”
Along with their own initiatives, Kheireddine said they hope to continue some of the current term’s big projects including finalizing a syllabus bank for students and discounted theme park tickets, as well as new contracts the administration is just starting to look at.
Kheireddine and Kent were friends outside of SG before deciding to run together. Kheireddine said it’s the way they carry themselves with positivity and a desire to get work done that will help them throughout the year.
“I thinks it’s our mutual understanding of what we want to see, not out of SG but out of each other,” he said. “When we were first elected, we started creating an expectation sheet for each other. And also just our friendship. We didn’t have a lot of SG bias. We had just a genuine friendship outside of SG, through other organizations.”
Kent expressed a similar feeling with their ability to support each other.
“Moneer’s a person that he likes to take on a lot and I think I’m a very supportive person so being able to support him in that aspect of being able to help him if he has something that he’s dealing with,” Kent said. “I think spreading responsibility more so that we’re more effective is something that I think we’d be able to work well toward.”
Ultimately, the two have to work through the pressure and stress that comes with their new positions.
“Even when stress and grades and all those other things are adding up, you know at the end of the day that you made a promise to the student body, we made a promise to everyone who supported us and we made a promise to ourselves to uphold what we said we would do,” Kheireddine said. “That’s one of the biggest things driving us forward.”