A breakdown of the FAU Student Government candidates

Regina Kaza

The student body president gets free tuition, an exclusive parking spot, and a free cellphone. As students, though, we’re picking up the bill. So it only makes sense that the Student Government president and vice president are people worth paying for and will give the students what they need. Whether you’re fed up with parking, or sick of high tuition, these are the people that want to help. And with the elections only a week away, you might want to choose wisely. Here are the candidates that think they have what it takes to lead the way.

Elrigea McIntosh and Jonathan Howell. Photo by Charles Pratt.

Elrigea McIntosh and Jonathan Howell:

Although they say they’re the underdogs in this election, McIntosh and Howell might be the key to getting students jobs after graduation.
As SG president and VP, McIntosh and Howell hope to bring their outside work experience to the students, and help make sure they leave college with more than just a really expensive piece of paper.

After serving in the Navy for six years, McIntosh worked in several corporations, such as Wachovia where he became manager in less than six months. Howell also returned to get a degree in management after working at AFCO Constructors Inc., a construction company less than a mile from the Boca campus. McIntosh returned to FAU this year to pursue his interest in finance and make some changes to the school by running for president along the way.

McIntosh’s enthusiasm for the school is what made Howell run as his VP. “I like Elrigea, he has some great ideas and incredible passion,” Howell said. “That’s one of the main reasons I wanted to run as his vice president.”

McIntosh and Howell’s main goal is to get companies who hire FAU students for unpaid internships to reinvest in the school. “We’re a world of give and take,” McIntosh said. “If we can work with the private sectors, where they can donate X amount of donations, give internships, it will balance out in the books.”

He and Howell also think companies donating to the school will keep FAU from raising its tuition. But if that doesn’t work, they have a back up plan. “Tuition, that’s decided on a state level and we have some connections with some state senators and we hope to use those,” Howell said. He refused to mention the names of the senators.

McIntosh will need to meet with businesses and look into how they can team up with FAU. “How will that work? I wouldn’t know until I sit down with those businesses. There has to be a meeting of the minds and shaking of the hands,” he said.

Besides getting students jobs, these guys also want to make students’ time at FAU more enjoyable. This means tackling issues, like fixing the leaky breezeway and getting more shuttles on campus to ease up parking. Enforcing a skateboard ban in the breezeway is also one of their main goals.

“There are too many clubs and people trying to relax for people to be skateboarding down that,” McIntosh said. “It’s really dangerous and you can really hurt some one.” He plans to enforce this by giving students tickets, fines or having them ushered off the breezeway for skateboarding or biking.

McIntosh and Howell will also be tabling in the breezeway, getting to know students, and telling them how to vote a few weeks before the election.  “One student, one vote, one handshake. That’s what our campaign is built on,” Mcintosh said. “I’m aware we’re the underdog. We’re running against the current VP and the young lady is a very active [sorority sister],” he said referring to presidential candidates Robert Huffman and April Turner.

Underdogs or not, McIntosh and Howell hope their experience in the workplace will help secure students’ futures with jobs and make FAU a better place while they’re here. “I really want this,” Howell said. “We want to win bad. I believe we can really make a difference.”

Helen Pferdehirt and Ryan Ebanks. Photo by Charles Pratt.

Helen Pferdehirt and Ryan Ebanks:

As governors on the Broward and Boca campuses, Helen Pferdehirt and Ryan Ebanks know those who aren’t the typical four-year student, which is what they think gives them an edge no other candidate has.

“We have more experience, period,” Ebanks said, who has served as treasurer for two years and is currently the Boca Governor and running for vice president. Pferdehirt has worked with both the Boca and Broward Program Board in the past. She is currently the Broward Governor and is running for SG president. This experience is what helps her “understand the students that aren’t the majority,” a skill she thinks none of the other candidates have.

Pferdehirt and Ebanks plan to improve FAU by getting to know the students on different campuses and creating a journal in which students can publish their research.

The research journal will help undergraduate students with average GPAs publish their work and help them get into graduate schools. “While they do maintain good grades, it’s not good enough,” Ebanks said. “It doesn’t make them as marketable.” He hopes that working with professors to publish this research will give students more professional experience and help them get jobs. “These professors can network the students outwards to several different avenues and I can say that because I’m one of those students,” Ebanks said.

Pferdehirt’s main goal as president is to make SG more visible, and let students know who represents them. She plans to do this by visiting FAU’s seven campuses and introducing herself and Ebanks so that students can come to them with their issues.

“Right now, if you go to any of the other branch campuses, they’re not as aware of what goes on in Student Government unless they’re involved,” Pferdehirt said. “Students can see faces and at least have some sort of recognition of who it is that advocates for them, even though we might not be able to get there all the time.”

Pferdehirt and Ebanks also plan on clarifying SG statutes and laws so that there is no controversy when different campus statutes don’t agree. Their experience as governors in the legislative branch will help them fix these problems. “Laws are always being changed, everything needs improving, it’s not specifically anything. But things need to be clarified a lot more,” Ebanks said.

As president, Pferdehirt said she will fight for Greek housing on campus, but doesn’t think that FAU should become a traditional university. “We pride ourselves on being an untraditional university but at the same time we do want some of those traditional things,” Pferdehirt said. Since FAU spans over seven campuses, Pferdehirt doesn’t think it’s possible for the school to become a traditional campus such as University of Florida or Florida State.

“I don’t think we will ever become one of those traditional universities but we can definitely take our uniqueness and make that our tradition.”

Robert Huffman and April Turner. Photo by Charles Pratt.

Robert Huffman and April Turner:

Whether it’s passing on spirit traditions at football games, or trying to get students to stay at FAU for more than two years, Huffman and Turner are all about getting students involved.

They hope that traditions like Owl Prowl and Rat’s Mouth tailgating will help boost GPA and get students excited about going to FAU. “That’s something we’re going to keep forever,” Turner said about Rat’s Mouth. “That’s something that no one will ever forget.”

Huffman is a founding member of his fraternity chapter, Delta Tau Delta, and current SG vice president. Turner has worked on the Homecoming committee and was a member of the Boca House of Representatives. During their time at FAU they have built relationships with administration, which will help bring up student concerns. Huffman and Turner think that keeping a humble mindset will help them bring up issues that are most important to students.

“Keeping that mindset that you are still a student and you’re no greater than anyone else allows you to be approachable and actually really hear what the students want and relate to them,” Huffman said.

As VP, Turner wants to voice students’ frustrations about things like parking, higher tuition and the need for healthier food choices on campus. “I really want to put the ‘student’ back in ‘student government,’” Turner said. “And give them back that control that they feel like they’ve missed.”

Part of that control is telling students where their money is going within SG. Huffman hopes to make sure students know where their A&S fees are going. “More students should be aware of what they can do as a student here and that they can actually control where their money goes to,” Huffman said.

The duo want results fast and they plan to get those by being the middleman between student and administration. “We want things to get done now, not in six years,” Turner said.

Huffman and Turner think their positive attitudes and ability to work together will help them in these positions. “I think if you have two people who wake up every morning thinking about how great this university is and how great it can be every day then you’re going to get the most positive outcome that you can,” Turner said.