Meet the candidates: Suryakanth Prasad Gottipati and Sumit Subhash Jadhav

Both Suryakanth Prasad Gottipati and Sumit Subhash Jadhav said their biggest inspirations are their parents, who are active bureaucrats and legislatures in India. ORACLE PHOTO/ DELANEY TORRES

Junior Suryakanth Prasad Gottipati and senior Sumit Subhash Jadhav are running for Student Government (SG) president and vice president. 

The ticket’s campaign includes Vision, OneUSF, Inclusivity, Collaboration and Empowerment, or V.O.I.C.E. 

“Students will always have something to say, and they want someone to listen,” Jadhav said. “That led us toward V.O.I.C.E. and a platform that would indicate they are being heard.”

Related: Here’s the competition for this year’s USF SG election – The Oracle

Both candidates are international students from India. Gottipati said he had a familiar face from back home to introduce him to SG. 

“The previous student body president, Nithin Palyam, is from the same high school back home, in the same city,” Gottipati said. “He posted his campaign videos on Instagram… that made me really interested in it [SG].”

Gottipati said realizing how Palyam “took care” of $30 million in Activity & Service (A&S) fees, and allocating the budgets to student organizations and departments, allowed him to understand the impact of a role such as SG President. 

If elected, Gottipati and Jadhav would serve the student body during the 2024-25 school year. Jadhav said the candidates’ computer science majors would be a good fit for the role in SG’s executive branch, especially with their “collaboration” efforts.

“People may think it is nerdy, something boring but honestly it is not,” he said. “It takes an equal amount of imagination. If you haven’t seen, computer science majors aren’t working alone, usually they work in teams.” 

Related: Inclusivity, sustainability among topics discussed at USF SG presidential debate – The Oracle

Gottipati serves as director of University Affairs for the executive branch, which helps the communication between SG and USF administrators. Jadhav is the senate president pro-tempore, a vice president that aids the SG senate. 

Jadhav said their positions within SG helped them network and understand what students wanted from leaders, making it easier to know what their campaign was going to be.

Although he was an introvert, things changed when he moved to the U.S. to study. During Jadhav’s freshman year he worked an on campus job as an Orientation Leader. With his role, he met a lot of students from different backgrounds, Jadhav said.

“It is just really inspiring to interact with them, listening to different opinions, perspectives and experiences,” he said.

Related: PHOTOS: Goals shared by USF Student Government presidential candidates at event – The Oracle

The candidates said they want to keep the diversity of international students already seen in SG.

As international students, inclusivity is particularly important for the candidates, Jadhav said. He said he realized a lot of students feel like outsiders on campus. 

“We have had instances where we have heard racial slurs and felt not welcome, not by USF but by individuals,” he said. “We have also heard ‘Are these people ready for the position? They can’t even speak English.’”

Jadhav said they plan on working with Victims Advocacy and the Counseling Center. The communications between leaders would provide easier access to mental health resources, such as counseling appointments, Jadhav said.

With both candidates being senators, they have gone to several events on campus and met a lot of students. Students were the ones who asked them to run, because of the larger impact the president and vice president have, Gottipati said. 

“We are here because people asked, not just friends but students who literally wanted us to run for office,” he said. “It is a natural step in a way.”

Julia Saad, News Editor

Julia Saad started as a news correspondent in fall 2022. During Saad's tenure at The Oracle, she has covered a variety of news. However, Saad's favorite topic to cover is being able to place readers in the ambient environments of USF events.