Meet the USFSP Student Government General Election Candidates – The Crow’s Nest at USF St. Petersburg
Courtesy of USF
By Sofia Garcia Vargas
USF St. Petersburg will choose the next group of student government (SG) representatives in the upcoming general election from February 28 to March 3.
Thirteen candidates are campaigning to fill the positions of governor, senator, campus council and lieutenant governor.
Four candidates are running for campus council and senate, one for campus council, senate and governor, and one for campus council and lieutenant governor. If elected, candidates running for two or more positions must choose the position they prefer to hold.
Representatives are expected to participate in decision-making processes at SG meetings, manage campus budget allocations, communicate with campus constituents, and conduct audits of student organization events funded by activity and service fees.
Voting will take place in a hybrid modality, with polling stations outside the University Student Center (USC) and access to virtual ballots available through a link on the USF St. Petersburg SG Instagram account.
An in-person debate between the governor and lieutenant governor will take place at 5 p.m. this Wednesday, Feb. 23, in Ballroom A at USC. The event will also be streamed live for those unable to make it to campus.
Regarding the relevance of this year’s voter turnout, Elections Supervisor Savannah Carr said, “Voting is important because without a student vote, [SG] cannot fully support and represent the student body.
The Crow’s Nest asked each candidate why they chose to run for SG and what they hoped to achieve if elected:
Kenneth Bright, Governor, Senate and Campus Council
Bright is a freshman in health sciences with a minor in communications
“I chose to run for [Governor] because I strive to make USFSP a more inclusive campus. As a freshman, I can relate to students who are looking to build relationships, but feel left out due to an already established social scene. The first task I plan to tackle in the pursuit of creating a more inclusive campus is military inclusivity. Military veterans and military-related students make up approximately 15% of our student population and belong to different groups such as the LGBTQ+ community and BIPOC. Addressing this demographic will give greater representation to underrepresented groups on campus. Besides inclusiveness, I believe incoming students build their first relationships through those they meet in the dorm. Therefore, I plan to organize social events in the dorm to foster this community. Setting up recycling services, free feminine products, and laundry supplies are other ideas I hope to implement. Finally, I plan to ease the strict parking regulations by introducing free weekend parking for students, family and friends.
Sean Schrader, Governor
Schrader is a senior business management major
“I want to help make a bigger impact on the opportunities and experiences students can get at USF. Last year I represented students as a senator in student government and one of my goals was to bridge the gap between students and local government. Josh Rampertab, my running mate, and I race to seek out and create new partnerships and foster existing ones so that together we can improve and add benefits to the overall student experience. I will focus on three main priorities: practicing and promoting sustainability, ensuring every student has a voice, and building better relationships within the USF community. For example, promoting sustainability can be done through an ongoing partnership with the Student Green Energy Fund (SGEF) and the Fresh and Local Greenhouse Project. Ensuring that every student has a voice is critically important. I think this can be done through the creation of working groups made up of students, tasked with examining certain questions and finding possible solutions that have an impact on the overall student experience.
Nathan Poinsette, Governor
Poinsette is a junior student in digital communication and multimedia journalism
“I chose to run for governor because I want to inspire my fellow Bulls to be their best and thrive here at USFSP. Nonetheless, as Governor, I want to make sure that every student on our campus feels welcome and is a safe space for them to master their craft. I also want to bridge the gap between different social cliques on campus to show the importance of joining forces. We are all bulls at the end of the day. If we lend a hand, no one can stop us in our academic and personal efforts.
Joshua Rampertab, Lieutenant Governor
Rampertab is a junior criminology major
“I chose to run for Lieutenant Governor to strengthen my leadership and contribution to the USF St. Petersburg campus and hopefully OneUSF. Everything I have done in my roles has been to create fun experiences at USF and help others in the community, so I hope to continue.We are focused on ensuring that students have a platform to express their voice, the promoting sustainable initiatives and building relationships within USF. We want to set up working groups made up of students so that we can hear any issues or problems that have come up for them at the USF and hopefully work to find a solution to these issues. Promoting sustainability is also important, so ensuring that we continue to practice and implement sustainability is one of our primary goals. relationship building is also a goal i important because we are in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg and surrounded by amazing businesses and organizations. Sean and I hope to build relationships with these organizations and bring more opportunities to our campus for students to utilize and learn more.
Kaiya Huggins, Lieutenant Governor
“I chose to run for Lieutenant Governor because it’s a great way for me to get involved and help create change for the better on campus. I’m a freshman, so this gives me the opportunity to give a new and fresh perspective on things. If elected, I intend to be a voice for the student body. I would like feedback from students on issues they would like to see resolved, as well as things they love about USF now that I could do even better. Even if I would be in office, it would be the student body that would have a great influence on the decisions I make.
Zackery Morales, Campus Council and Lieutenant Governor
Morales is a health science junior with a concentration in healthcare management
“I chose to run for [Campus Council and Lieutenant Governor] positions because we have seen different issues within the USFSP community that need improvement, such as dorm life, inclusiveness of underrepresented communities, and improved parking services. Our goal is to create more campus events for students to connect with each other, eventually provide laundry detergent and fabric softener, and improve the overall quality of life for those who call USFSP home. We also discussed implementing some sort of college daycare program with a local daycare center for students who are also parents and face some challenges in committing to integration.
Candidates Elizabeth Olson, Courtney Dalton, Nathan Almighty, Allison Richards, Lorguens Saintelien, Matthew Ibarra and Trayton White did not immediately respond to The Crow’s Nest request for comment.