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Cunningham addresses student body on presidential term achievements

At the Presidential Student Body Address, Julia Cunningham (left) reflected on her administration’s success in supporting underrepresented students and saving the USF Forest Preserve. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE

With just days left in office, Student Body President Julia Cunningham addressed USF with reflections and farewells, emphasizing the collaborative effort her term has been in realizing her platform’s initiatives.

“We now have our first all-female federal cabinet. Not only are Vice President [Jillian] Wilson and I the first female president and vice president, but our staff is entirely female as well,” she said.

“It is truly a joy to work with them every day. And to this group of strong, intelligent women, I want to thank you all for your incredible work over these last few months. You have far exceeded my expectations.”

About 15 people gathered in the Senate Chambers at the Marshall Student Center (MSC), as well as two others via Microsoft Teams to listen in on the first in-person presidential address since the start of the pandemic. The speech started 23 minutes after its scheduled time and lasted 14 minutes recapping the administration’s term.

Between making history as the first all-female federal cabinet and being a member of the LGBTQ community, Cunningham said it was her responsibility to use that diversity to benefit those students. These initiatives are especially important for the student body during a time state politics tend to undermine these groups, according to Cunningham.

“I’m beyond proud of all our diversity initiatives that we have accomplished last year,” she said.

“Vice President Wilson has successfully added more inclusive pronouns to various university platforms, and I have been working closely with Senator [Yamaris] Rodriguez and the USF Athletics Department on our transgender student resolution so we can commit our university to supporting transgender rights.”

Continuing the diversity efforts of the past administration by overseeing the construction of the Institute on Black Life Student Lounge in the MSC has been a privilege, Cunningham said. To build upon these steps, Cunningham said she attended monthly meetings between Student Government (SG) and the Black Student Union to promote the needs of Black students.

Acting according to the wishes of the student body, Cunningham said she is happy to leave knowing she helped protect the forest preserve on campus. Additionally, she is also proud of her counterpart, Wilson, in her efforts to promote recycling around campus through the “reverse” vending machines.

Cunningham gave thanks to all of her collaborators throughout her term, including those within the SG Supreme Court as well as Tampa’s gubernatorial leadership, and said she is excited to see how the USF community continues to be a force of positive change.

“It has been my honor and privilege to serve as your student body president,” she said. “I believe that our university creates trailblazers and innovators. We Bulls are going to change the world and I can’t wait to see what that will look like.”