UNIVERSITY PRESS

Student Government holds university-wide presidential debate

Platforms for all candidates include campus safety, balanced funding, and increased communication with students.

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Student Government holds university-wide presidential debate

The presidential candidates and their VPs lined up to answer questions from House Speaker Noah Goldberg about their platforms. Photo by Israel Fontoura

The presidential candidates and their VPs lined up to answer questions from House Speaker Noah Goldberg about their platforms. Photo by Israel Fontoura

The presidential candidates and their VPs lined up to answer questions from House Speaker Noah Goldberg about their platforms. Photo by Israel Fontoura

The presidential candidates and their VPs lined up to answer questions from House Speaker Noah Goldberg about their platforms. Photo by Israel Fontoura

Israel Fontoura, Student Government Editor

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Editor’s Note | 1:30 p.m.: The headline has been updated to reflect that this debate was university-wide, not just for the Boca campus. 

Last Friday evening, the three student government presidential candidates and their vice presidential running mates debated on issues such as campus safety, budget allocation, and student representation.

For two hours, they shared how they would best serve the student body and create change across all of FAU campuses. This is the first time the presidential tickets have gathered together.

The candidates running are:

Moderated by House Speaker Noah Goldberg, the candidates were each asked a series of questions about why they should be the next student body president or VP.

Why do you want be elected?

Presidents

Buchanan has been a member of student government for three years, and said he’s “been able to be effective throughout each of these roles … [Being president] is something I’ve dreamt of since freshman year.”

Buchanan also said he’s running to “take it to the next level” — not only in Boca, but for the other campuses as well.

Marr came to FAU to study biology — for him, politics was out of the question — but he soon changed his mind.

“I am running for the students,” he said. “I can be a voice that best represents them.”

He believes he can do this because he works and studies full-time, so he can understand the problems that students like him go through, he said.

Prince is president of First and Proud, a campus organization that connects first-generation college students like herself with resources and a community. She said that FAU has “captured her heart,” but believes that the university is lacking humanity, which is the reason she wants to run.

Vice Presidents

Persaud got involved with multiple student organizations in her freshman year, which led to her becoming the associate director of the Council of Student Organizations. She now oversees more than 400 groups.

“I love FAU. I have made the best decision ever to come here … I’ve really gotten to see what students want,” she said.

Thomas, a recent transfer student, loves how diverse FAU is. She said she has always wanted to run for president, and with her experience in the House, “I prefer to listen and get input.”

Robinson, who is also a first-generation student like Prince, shared that she “would really like to see a change of heart,” which could increase the quality of life on campus.

What changes would your ticket bring if elected?

Presidents

Buchanan believes that SG should shoot for goals that are within their reach.

He wants to encourage more representation within FAU’s Board of Trustees and Greek life. Buchanan also thinks that FAU hasn’t worked with the community well enough, and that the city of Boca and FAU should work together, because “we all live here.”

He would like to see more organizations participating in tailgates — “Greek life is not every student,” he said.

Marr wants to create “thriving campus lifestyles” by tapping into FAU’s cultural diversity, and to “shape the next generation of FAU.” He’s also looking to ensure communication between each campus.

Prince said that student homelessness is growing rapidly on campus and that we can help them by providing showers and access to resources. Her eagerness to find a solution came after she witnessed a student sleeping in their own car, she said.

Vice Presidents

Persaud said her ticket wants to achieve everything attainable, which means doing as much as they can with their allotted budget.

“We are aiming to advocate for all students,” she said. “We want to listen to what you have to say.”

Thomas said her ticket wants to focus on all campuses instead of just Boca, which includes adding more events on every site. Another goal is to work on campus funding because other budgets are bound to be cut as Greek life continues to expand, she said.

She also wants to support freshman and low-income students.

“We have multiple resources. We will help you,” she said.

Robinson wants to help disabled students on campus. Campus shuttles don’t accommodate them, she said, and these students are not safe in the case of a fire or other emergency in the dorms.

How can you ensure you will represent all six campuses?

FAU has six campuses and sites across South Florida, including Boca Raton, Jupiter, Davie, Ft. Lauderdale, Dania Beach (Sea Tech), and the Fort Pierce Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute. Only Boca Raton, Jupiter, and Davie have a student government.

Due to time constraints, the VP candidates were unable to answer this question. The presidential candidates, however, shared their thoughts.

Buchanan said that “campaigning shouldn’t stop once you get into office.” He wants to meet with students weekly, arguing that they should be an active part of the conversation.

Marr explained that he’s met with student leaders across campuses, and found that those who are not in Boca feel disconnected from the main campus.

Marr says we need a campus for all of us, and “someone in the shoes of the students.”

Prince also believes we need to play on other campuses’ strengths and said she would love to visit all of them.

“We should be considered one campus,” she said. “It is important to know how each one works.”

She also wants to create a “president’s corner,” where students can understand what is happening in the executive branch and voice their concerns.

Elections will open at midnight on Feb. 26 and close Feb. 27 at 11:59 pm on Owl Central.

You can watch the debate here.

Israel Fontoura is the student government editor of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected].

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