For the first time in over a decade, there’s a possibility of USF having a two-term student body president, with the last one being Michael Griffin from 2001-03.
Current Student Body President Moneer Kheireddine and Vice President Shaquille Kent are looking to follow in Griffin’s footsteps by running for a second term. With most of their platform points carrying over from last year’s election, the ticket’s hope is that the extra year would allow them to see projects through to the end.
“One of the things Bulls will see is consistency,” Kent said. “We’ve been in this role for a year, we know how to do the job. We’ve transitioned well and we’ve made connections with different departments around campus. One of the things I’m telling everyone is that we don’t need a transition period. From the time we’re elected again, we’re going to hit the ground running and we’re going to get things done.”
While both Kheireddine and Kent said they think they’ve learned a lot about the job of student body president over the past year, they’ve also learned about areas where they need to improve.
“I think the biggest piece for us that we need to focus on is a lot more of the media and branding,” Kheireddine said. “We did as much as we could to promote different things that we were doing. (We had) the welcome back video which talked about a lot of the initiatives that we’re trying. It’s been a while since we had a video like that where we had some kind of promotion that talked exactly about initiatives Student Government is doing. So from our end, we’re hoping to increase that branding and that marketing.
“We’re also hoping to have an easier access to any of the kinds of things that we’re trying to get done because we’re hoping to work more cohesively with our Senate as well. Because this last year, we’ve learned how to work with our Senate, how to get their input on various things we’re trying to do, how we can use student surveys to get input into various things we’re trying to do to make things happen in reality. These are all experiences that we had to learn and grow from and now that we have that experience, we think we can be a lot more seamless with getting initiatives done.”
Both of their campaigns have focused on heritage, entertainment, access and representation. However, the only initiative to appear on both campaigns is the idea of pushing for an on-campus football stadium.
One initiative on last year’s platform was the creation of a designated space for the National Pan-Hellenic Council, the funding for which has been approved. Construction is expected to start over the summer. The idea has been expanded for this year’s platform, which calls for the creation of a cultural center on campus.
“What that will be is a very large space that includes additional student organization office space,” Kheireddine said. “Basically, this space, we’re hoping to incorporate into an MSC expansion, but if not we’ll hopefully build it somewhere physically on campus. Basically, it’ll be a large space hopefully holding at least 500 where any student organization can go, we’ll have a reserve bank. They can use it to meditate, they can use it for prayer, they can use it for anything they’re hoping to do.”
However, when it comes to the campaign itself, Kheireddine expressed a sentiment that’s been echoed by one of his opponents, Gabby Cruz, about running a clean election without petty drama. The two have worked together in SG before, along with Cruz’s running mate Scott Tavlin.
“There’s no bad blood between us and I really appreciate the initiative they have taken alongside us to have the cleanest campaign possible and that we’re actively letting each other know if there are any issues coming up,” Kheireddine said. “For example, if they start seeing yard signs being taken up, we can 100 percent check in and see if there’s anything on our side. Of course that would never happen with our side, but we have that transparency so that we can openly communicate.”
The ticket debate will be held in the Marshall Student Center Ballroom tonight at 6 and voting starts Monday.