Even though they attended the same high school, Gov.-elect Evelyn Deoliveira and Lt. Gov.-elect Madison Sosa didn’t get to know each other until an ambassador retreat last fall. A few months later, they entered the gubernatorial race together for the Sarasota-Manatee campus.
While they had no opponents, Deoliveira and Sosa were still required to campaign and were enthusiastic to participate in the process. Deoliveira currently serves as deputy chief of staff and Sosa is assistant director of marketing, which benefited their Instagram-based campaign.
Their Instagram page features the team, what they are each running for, a little bit about themselves and their initiatives in the form of the acronym O.N.E. — which stands for opportunity, nourishment and empowerment.
Aside from digital means of getting to know students, the duo went around campus introducing themselves and getting to know members of the community.
“We were able to connect with other students [by] just going up to people and meeting them and saying ‘Hey, what’s your name? I’m Madi, I’m running for this and I want to do this and this,’” she said.
Although their Instagram page was planned to be a campaign resource, Deoliveira and Sosa intend to keep it active throughout their term to keep students in the know about their actions.
The initiatives under “opportunity” include a MyUSF App revamp for easier navigation, an all class booklet for students to see courses offered across campuses, a discount booklet and building the student center.
In order to build the first student center for the Sarasota-Manatee campus, the team hopes to attend meetings and collaborate with other campus leaders.
“Nourishment” initiatives include encouraging a greener campus, such as creating a garden in the courtyard and potentially installing solar panels, and working with campus nurse practitioners to have the Wellness Center open all weekdays for students.
“It would be just for the building we have now because [with] the student center, they’re still planning things,” Deoliveira said.
The “empowerment” initiative explores the concept of Greek Day, which would allow Tampa and St. Pete fraternities and sororities to promote their chapters at Sarasota-Manatee.
“I know not many students from our campus commute to Tampa and St. Pete often, or know about [Fraternity and Sorority Life],” Deoliveira said. “We want to make sure our students get to know them and also they are able to promote their chapter.”
While all university events are open for students from all campuses, Deoliveira and Sosa said they want to market them better. Encouraging students from the Tampa and St. Pete campuses to attend events at Sarasota-Manatee and vice versa will connect students universitywide.
Mike Palou-Morales, former campus council representative and recent alum, met the two at a Student Government-hosted event through a mutual friend. He soon realized that he shared similarities with both of them, such as Sosa being from South American descent and Deoliveira speaking Portuguese.
Deoliveira and Sosa are working to build on the culture present at the Sarasota-Manatee campus, according to Palou-Morales, ultimately benefiting the student body by promoting cohesiveness across campuses.
A quality that makes them good student leaders is their diversity and background, as Palou-Morales said they both come from hardworking families, which is reflected in their work.
He believes Deoliveira and Sosa have the structure and dedication to complete everything they want to accomplish in their term, expecting them to make a lot of progress as they try to make themselves more visible with other campuses, not just Sarasota-Manatee.
“I know they already laid out a good framework for how things are going to go, it’s just pretty much execution at this point,” he said.
The power of the pair is undeniable, according to Palou-Morales, and their consistent focus and drive toward achieving their goals for the campus shines a light on their commitment to putting students first.
“You can find one without the other, but when there’s two together, it’s almost hard to separate,” he said. “I think what they give, as a people, to the community is definitely something that all should be drawn to, something everyone should applaud, especially since they’re the first all female ticket [at the Sarasota-Manatee campus] since consolidation.”
Moving forward, Deoliveira and Sosa are enthusiastic to connect with students and work with other campuses to bring them all together.
As they finish up this semester, Deoliveira and Sosa are preparing to start their new positions at the end of the semester and implement their initiatives beginning in the summer and fall through lots of planning.
“I am just overall excited to start this position,” Deoliveira said. “As of right now, we’re still transitioning. It doesn’t necessarily feel like we’re there yet, even though we are as soon as this summer and fall starts.”