New Student Government president and vice president plan to focus on student empowerment
Juniors Cesar Esmeraldi and Elizabeth Volmy are set to take office as Student Government (SG) president and vice president with the goal of empowering USF students highlighting existing resources.
“We talked to a lot of students throughout the campaign and they were not aware of a lot of the resources already available to them,” Volmy said.
Esmeraldi and Volmy were announced as president and vice president on Friday, and the pair will be sworn in on Wednesday in the Senate Chambers.
The pair’s campaign focuses on mental health, opportunities, rise in transportation and parking and empowerment – a platform which they dubbed M.O.R.E. Volmy said one of their goals is to improve the government’s communication to students.
To increase engagement between SG and the student body through social media and other platforms, Esmeraldi said they plan to expand marketing positions for students in their cabinet.
“Instead of having only one marketing person, we will have a chief marketing officer and a graphic design specialist, to focus on not only our initiatives, but also on how they are going to be effectively marketed,” Esmeraldi said.
Promoting mental health resources, such as TimelyCare, and events such as career fairs catered to international students on social media is important to the pair, both of them being health science majors, according to Volmy.
There is an advantage to both being from international backgrounds, Esmeraldi said.
“We know the challenges international students face, ones only other international students can understand,” Esmeraldi said. “Having leaders that not only understand but will try to help is essential, especially in such a diverse community.”
Being a first generation American, Volmy said it is important to create opportunities and resources so that all students get what they want from their university experience.
“As a student, I want to feel supported, especially support from the university I’m attending,” Volmy said. “I think that was one of the main reasons to join Student Government here.”
As part of the “opportunities” pillar of the campaign, Esmeraldi said he wants to serve as a bridge between new students in international organizations and clubs, commuters and actively collaborate with Greek life.
“Regardless of their background, regardless of their country, their major, whether they live on or off campus, we want to be there,” Esmeraldi added.
This partnership would allow the cabinet to reach more freshmen at USF, according to Volmy.
“[Freshmen] make up a big part of campus, and a lot of new students go through Greek life so we want to make sure we are helping them,” Volmy said. “Creating that bridge of communication where they feel comfortable to reach out, knowing we support them.”
To improve transportation, as part of the “Rise in Transportation and Parking,” Esmeraldi said they are planning to implement the OneUSF project, which consists of intercampus shuttles being available to students.
“We want to work within Student Government on other campuses as well. One essential thing is that we want to make OneUSF a reality,” Esmeraldi said.
The pair will visit the Sarasota-Manatee and St. Pete campuses this week to discuss possibilities of the project, according to Esmeraldi. The intercampus buses have been proposed by past tickets for student government at USF.
The official announcement of the results for president and vice president was delayed by the SG Supreme Court’s trial on investigating opposing ticket’s Sebastian Solano and Jessica Malanga’s win.
The court determined the previously elected candidates conducted unauthorized polling stations that violated an official SG statute. Esmeraldi and Volmy released an official statement regarding the circumstances of their victory on their Instagram on Sunday.
“This is a serious institution that should never be threatened or represented by statute violators,” the statement read.
Volmy said their passion and determination was what drove them to pursue this win, even after it was called in favor of the opposing candidates.
“My parents always told me that when I set my mind to something I am fully committed to it, giving my 100%,” Volmy said. “I wanted to make sure that all our hard work and passion shined through as well.”