Being the only names on the ballot for the Tampa gubernatorial election is not stopping campus council member Joey Cipriano and Student Government (SG) Senator Gabrielle Henry’s campaign efforts.
The running mates intend to campaign as scheduled to let students know who they are, what their goals are and to discover ways to improve their plans before taking office in the summer, according to Henry.
“We still want to use this time to grow our relationship with the student body so we can represent them properly,” Cipriano said.
Championing the acronym C.A.R.E., Cipriano and Henry will focus on creating a feedback-based initiative platform where they act according to the students’ suggestions and criticisms.
The first two letters — “C” and “A” — stand for the connection and advocacy the duo wants to maintain with the student body. Cipriano and Henry said they are open to conversations with students that challenge current initiatives and flaws in their planning.
The ticket encourages students to reach out to them via Instagram as they campaign, and their SG emails once they take office. This includes contacting them about issues that are being ignored and ideas students believe could benefit the university’s community.
“Any student can direct message us anytime,” Cipriano said. “Especially for issues that we missed or ideas that we haven’t thought of.”
The third letter — “R”— stands for their commitment to representing and delivering initiatives that benefit populations of students that are generally overlooked.
“We’re mainly focusing on a lot of inclusivity between the campuses, and also diversity and inclusion initiatives that support underrepresented students,” Henry said.
The pair wants to make the LGBTQ student community feel more welcomed at the university. This direction is an important step to improving USF’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, according to Cipriano.
“We want to make buildings more inclusive by increasing the number of gender-neutral restrooms on campus,” he said.
The Tampa campus currently houses 38 gender-neutral bathrooms across its 240-building infrastructure. Once in office, the duo said they will push the university to install at least 12 more to provide students with appropriate restroom options, according to Cipriano.
Although the power of the governor and lieutenant governor is restricted to one campus, the Tampa representatives plan to collaborate with those on the St. Pete and Sarasota-Manatee campuses to advance their goal in expanding representation for minority groups, Henry said.
“We believe that collaboration across the campuses will provide greater opportunities for all USF students, regardless of location, and further the mission of OneUSF,” Cipriano said.
The specifics of their intercampus plans depend on who wins the presidential race, according to Cipriano. Without a clear idea of who their collaborators may be, Cipriano and Henry said they are going to wait until the dust settles following the election to identify what the expansion would look like.
“We have been in discussion about a couple of other initiatives, but we have not yet finalized those plans,” Cipriano said. “They could look a bit different depending on who wins some of the contested elections.”
No matter who wins, the governor-elect and lieutenant governor-elect plan to have more extensive discussions with the SG presidential administration to bolster initiatives that support intercampus cooperation, according to Cipriano.
The final pillar in their campaign —“E”— signifies their emphasis on pursuing initiatives that contain environmentally friendly attributes.
The gubernatorial ticket seeks to resurrect and reenergize initiatives from the past such as converting all Bull Runners into an all-electric fleet and adding more solar panels to buildings across the Tampa campus.
Cipriano and Henry have yet to deliberate specific projects that encompass their eco-friendly desires, but will carve out a detailed plan that matches their ambitions once they take office, according to Cipriano.
With an emphasis on feedback, the pair seeks to serve the student body by lending them their ears and ambition to leave the university better than when they took office, according to Cipriano.
“We want to hear what the student’s needs are,” he said. “We will continuously work to get what they want and make them feel more comfortable here.”