Q&A: Governor candidates talk plans for the future, what sets them apart

Only four of the 10 remaining candidates responded to an interview request.

Benjamin Paley, Distribution Manager

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Almost a month ago, 22 candidates registered to run in this year’s Student Government elections.

Over the past three weeks, eight candidates have dropped out.

Only 14 candidates remain, 10 of which are running for the Boca, Jupiter, and Davie campus governor seats.

And of those 10, only four responded to the University Press’ request for interview.

With elections starting tomorrow and running through Wednesday, here’s a Q&A with four of the gubernatorial candidates.

To cast your vote, there will be polling stations from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. tomorrow in front of the Boca and Davie campus Student Union. You can also vote online via Student Government’s Owl Central page.

Boca campus governor candidates:

  • Junior education major Chase Fitzgerald

Chase Fitzgerald. Photo courtesy of Chase Fitzgerald

  • Sophomore political science major Luke Turner

Luke Turner. Photo courtesy of Luke Turner

  • Sophomore history and political science major Kerete Paul

Kerete Paul. Photo courtesy of Justin Romelo

Jupiter campus governor candidate:

  • Junior biochemistry major Bernadeth Tolentino

Bernadeth Tolentino. Photo courtesy of Bernadeth Tolentino’s Facebook

Q: Do you have any previous experience in Student Government?

Fitzgerald: [I have] no previous SG experience.

Turner: I [have been] a member of the Boca House of Representatives for two years consecutively. I serve on the House Ways and Means Committee. I have been a part of the Campus Budget Allocation Committee this year.

Paul: I am currently the Campus Action Chair of the Boca House of Representatives. Previously, I served on the Freshman Class Council.

Tolentino: COSO Executive Board for four semesters and chief of staff for [Jupiter campus] Governor Kahlil Ricketts. [I got involved because] I am a very active member on my campus. It was very clear that I could handle that [chief of staff] position.

Q: What do you plan on accomplishing?

Fitzgerald: I want to get students involved. I want to get things done in Student Government. I want to work on the sprinkler systems because they go off on random times. I used to live in IVA and I would be walking home from a long shift on the weekend and I would get soaked by the sprinklers.

I want to give students an outlet to voice their concerns. Students often do not know where to go. I will set up an email system which students can email their problems to. I will have a committee whose job it is would be to review those complaints.

Turner: I plan to accomplish a lot. One thing is the sprinkler system. I want to fix the amount of water that goes off and the timing of the sprinkler system because they go off at random times and spray students.

I also want to work to bring Chick-fil-A breakfasts to our school’s Chick-fil-A. It would provide more of an incentive for students to come to campus and do work.

Paul: The first thing I want to accomplish is parking on campus. I want to expand Night Owl hours. I plan to have a Heat Map of campus so we can see when students are mainly on campus. It won’t be called Night Owls anymore since it would operate during the day. I also want to work on helping students with post-commencement life.

Tolentino: Ever since I was a freshmen, I have been noticing that there is not a good pattern of communication between Boca and Jupiter. We are one university. SG leaders in Boca need to feel comfortable communicating with us.

This year, for example, there was an issue with the recreation fields on the Jupiter campus. My intention is to bring back the communications chair on the Jupiter campus. I will bring it back because we need to communicate with the students, not just on the Boca campus but on the Jupiter campus as well.

Q: What sets you apart from the other candidates?

Fitzgerald: I have never been involved in Greek Life or in Student Government before. I can call out issues when I see them. I do not have any personal connections to people in Student Government.

Turner:  I truly feel that I represent the students. I live on campus. I have formed great relationships with students here. I truly feel as if I have the experience, because out of everyone else who is running, I have the most experience.

Paul: I have more experience; because of my SG positions, I have been able to communicate with other departments on campus to figure out what needs to be improved. I am also a manager of a non-profit, the Village Youth Services [giving food to children ages 3-18] in Miami so I have leadership experience and capabilities.

I know there are certain things I can do now as a student, and not wait until I am elected. You should prepare for office beforehand which I have been doing.

Tolentino: I am a very involved individual on campus. Not just SG, but I am involved in clubs. I also partake in a lot of sports. I am able to understand on a more intimate level what the students on the Jupiter campus understand because of my involvement. I am also friends with a lot of people on campus.

Q: Why did you choose to go to FAU?

Fitzgerald: I have lived in this area my whole life. I was born in a hospital close to campus. My mother went to this campus. FAU has a lot of really great programs.

Turner: A friend of mine told me to look at FAU, and I went with my parents for a tour. Its appearance on social media looked great. Just walking around campus, it felt like home. I felt like I was home walking through the campus.

Paul: I choose to go to FAU because it is close to home. And because I can see this area as my next home. FAU was not my first choice, but coming to FAU I realized there is so much I can do. We are a diverse campus and there is so much opportunity for getting involved on campus.

Tolentino: I choose [FAU’s honors college] simply because of their small class sizes. That is what sets FAU and the [honors college] apart from other universities in Florida. The Honors College is one of the secret gems of FAU.

Q: What is one of your favorite things about FAU?

Fitzgerald: The people. This is a really diverse campus. During  my orientation, we played a game called “Assumptions” because of the diversity here. People want to make this campus even greater. People are very enthusiastic and involved in their jobs on campus.

Turner: I really love the students. I formed great relationships with students on campus.

Paul: My favorite thing about FAU is the amount of student involvement. I love how students can be elected to different roles in SG. I have spoken to my friends at other universities and I have noticed all the things we offer our students. For example, fee tickets for students to many athletic events.

Tolentino: The location. This is such a wonderful place. The Jupiter campus is next to Max Planck and Scripps, research centers for students to get involved in.

Q: What is one thing about FAU you don’t like?

Fitzgerald: A lot of the programs here are really great, but the execution is not as good. For example, marketing. We need to really market our programs. We need more communication among the different programs and departments on campus.

Turner: A major issue is the lack of spirit at school events. Working with my cabinet, I will handle this issue. I think we need to offer more merchandise and gear for students to attend events with. I also want there to be more diversity in Student Government.

Paul: My least favorite thing is parking. It makes no sense why it takes 30 minutes to find parking, and it makes no sense why I can park and turn around and already have a citation. I plan to use an Owl Cart program which would pick you up at the parking lot and take you to your building.

Tolentino: I believe communication is key to everything. If there is something wrong, people need to communicate. I do intend to open a new SG position called the Communications Chair, so that the voices of the Jupiter campus students can be heard in Boca.

Benjamin Paley is the distribution manager of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected].