Meet the candidates: Nathan Poinsette and Taeler Bell

Empowering University of South Florida students to be confident in their achievements is a crucial goal in Student Government presidential and vice presidential candidates Nathan Poinsette (right) and Taeler Bell. ORACLE PHOTO / JEISLIAN QUILES

If elected, senior Nathan Poinsette will be the first ever St. Pete campus student to serve as Student Government (SG) president. This opportunity drove the presidential candidate to seek unity on all campuses. 

“As president, I want to be the bridge that builds bridges,” Poinsette said. “St. Petersburg is in the middle of all three campuses. I want to pull Tampa and Sarasota together, hone a center and truly become OneUSF.”

Poinsette and vice presidential candidate Taeler Bell’s campaign acronym “Bull P.R.I.D.E.” consists of five main pillars and goals for their term. With “Philanthropy,” “Resources,” “Inclusion,” “Development” and “Empowerment,” the duo said they hope to lead USF students into recognizing their potential both in and outside of the institution. 

With “Philanthropy,” the candidates said the main objective of it is to demystify the association with money related donations, and understand philanthropy as something most students can accomplish through drives and giving back to the community. 

“In a nutshell, we want to post multiple toy, food and clothing drives throughout the whole year,” Poinsette said. “Before our tenure ends, we want to implement a food donation system to give back to the homeless population as well.”

Bell added that exposing students to helping others would greatly benefit students’ self esteem. 

“We are only as great and strong as our community,” she said. 

As part of their efforts to improve student life on all three campuses, the pair’s second pillar in the campaign acronym is “Resources.” Poinsette said their objective as leaders is to highlight the available resources students have access to, such as renting laptops from the library and access to the Feed-a-Bull pantry.

“We have to inform them about the resources,” Poinsette said. “As student leaders, we know where to go and how to find [resources], but if you are a new or transfer student you might not know.” 

Gym intimidation, the anxious feeling of using machines or weights at a crowded gym, is one issue Bell said she wants to address by developing a fitness app for students. The app’s main objective is to make sure students are comfortable enough going to the gym, Bell said.

Poinsette said the app would feature step-by-step demonstrations on proper use of the machines at all USF gyms from other students and USF athletes. 

Poinsette and Bell are active members of SG. The presidential candidate is currently a senator for the St. Pete campus, chair of the Student Green Energy Fund (SGEF) and chair of recruitment for USF ambassadors. 

The vice presidential candidate is vice chair of the ethics committee. Bell is also involved in inclusion departments in the biomedical sciences field. She is the secretary of the National Society for the National Society of Black Women in Medicine and marketing officer of the Motivating Black Students into Medicine club. 

With “Inclusion,” the third pillar, the pair aims to accomplish more for minorities on campus. Inclusion initiatives on Poinsette and Bell’s campaign relate to accessibility, as the pair said they are advocating for hiring more interpreters for deaf students, and ordering appropriate desks for left-handed students,  according to Poinsette. 

Regarding the pillar of “Development,” the candidates said they want to reopen the intra-campus shuttles project that would transport students from one campus to another.

In addition, Poinsette said one of the main priorities in Tampa is to provide better lighting on campus.

“Taeler was expressing concern for students feeling unsafe at bus stops and there are also multiple dark areas around campus,” Poinsette said. “We also want to add more recycling bins and chargeable ports on all campuses.”

The OneUSF initiative has been a project campaigned on past candidacies. Even in the short term of a year, Poinsette said they hope to achieve their campaign promises because they took the time to analyze if they were realistic beforehand. 

Student “Empowerment,” the fifth pillar of Poinsette and Bell’s campaign, includes efforts such as implementing events for those who want to highlight their accomplishments, and according to Bell, raise their self-esteem.

The Saturday Morning Market, a St. Pete initiative, gathers small businesses on campus. Poinsette said he would like to implement the market for student businesses in the Tampa campus as a part of their “Empowerment” pillar.

“USF students who do hair, make art, sell clothes or are photographers, that will be a great opportunity to showcase what you have to offer to the student body,” Poinsette said. 

Bell said she wants to focus on aiding first generation students to navigate college life by empowering them to feel a part of the community.

“Sometimes college is hard, especially if your parents don’t understand your struggles,” Bell said. “We want to uplift first generation students by having speakers and financial literacy workshops.” 

Increasing student confidence is one of the main priorities of the campaign efforts to have more events catered to uplift the student body and prepare them for the market, according to Bell. Poinsette said that, by having this platform, he aims to make everyone a special part of the campus life.

“I am passionate about helping the Bulls,” Poinsette said. “Everyone is included and no one is excluded.”