Meet the 2020 Student Government candidates

Here’s what the candidates have to say about why they’re running for office.


The 2020 Student Government candidates. Illustration by Israel Fontoura.

Israel Fontoura, Managing Editor

Every year, Student Government elects the position of Student body president, vice president, and campus governors. The candidates have one month to campaign and convince the student body to vote for them.


In the last election, only 3,088 students out of the 28,360 students at FAU, or about 11 percent, voted in the recent election.


There are two presidential tickets running and eight candidates running for their respective campus governor position. Voting will take place on Feb. 25 and 26 on Owl Central and there will be in-person polling stations on Boca’s Breezeway and Recreation center, Davie’s Student Union and Jupiter’s Dining Hall.


But what’s the point of voting?

The leaders you’re voting for play a part in overseeing and influencing how your school’s money is spent, through campus events or initiatives, which could affect your tuition costs.

The president, vice president, and campus governor represent the student body and raise concerns to the administration, while providing resources that are useful to students, according to the SG Constitution.

So what exactly do the president, vice president, and campus governor do?

  • The president represents the student body at Board of Trustees meetings, who are responsible for approving university-wide budgets, installing new academic programs and ensuring the university is following state laws. The president also approves or vetoes House/ Senate legislation, and reviews the school’s budget.
  • The vice president serves as chair of the University Budget Allocation Committee (UBAC), chairs Senate meetings, maintains records of Senate legislation, and represents the student body in the absence of the president.
  • The campus governor appoints students on their Administrative Cabinet, which include, Student Government Multicultural Programming Director, Council of Student Organization Director, and Students Advisory Volunteer Involvement Director. The governor also approves or vetoes House legislation, and oversees the operation of the Governor’s Cabinet.

They all answered the same question: why are you running for office?


Student body president & vice president tickets


Celine Persaud, junior and Joseph Burgese, junior

“We believe that with our resources, knowledge, and experience, we are best equipped to serving the students. We are committed to advocating for the student body and ensuring that every voice is heard,” the ticket said.


Persaud is the current student body vice president and previously served as associate director for the Council of Student Organizations (COSO), which supervises registered student organizations. Burgese previously served as a Boca House representative, Senator, and Supervisor of Elections.


Alex Zand, junior, and Naya Diaz, junior

“As your next Student body president and vice president, we will represent every student within our university. The voice of the student body deserves leaders who bring a unique, innovative, and diverse approach when advocating for our needs, and we are the leaders to pave the way. Together we will raise the bar. This is our time,” the ticket said.


Zand is the current Boca governor and Diaz is the director of Students Advocating Volunteer Involvement (SAVI), an SG program that provides community service and leadership opportunities to students.


Boca gubernatorial candidates


Jack Agar, junior

“I strive to improve the student experience through making student resources more readily available. In addition, create a long-lasting legacy focusing on enhancing campus life,” he said.


Joshua Rutledge, sophomore

“I am running because someone has to be a true advocate for this student body. Someone has to hear the concerns of problems not solved, and the celebrations that come with campus betterment. Someone needs to become a true voice of the student body, and I’ve decided that person is going to be me,” he said.


Rachelle Saint Louis, senior

“I love Student Government and advocating on behalf of the students. I have been a proud member of SG since my first semester at FAU. I want to bring a diverse perspective to the ballot,” she said.


Broward gubernatorial candidate


Hailey Berman, junior

“[I am running to] provide simple and actionable solutions that deal with practical issues that FAU Broward students face. Lead in creating a more dynamic FAU Broward community; in doing so, help students maximize their university experience,” she said.


Jupiter gubernatorial candidates


Ari Aviles, sophomore

“I have been an active, responsive member of Student Government for the entirety of my time at the Honors College and I’ve worked with nearly every department of the Jupiter campus. I am currently serving as Jupiter’s House Speaker, and I will be starting major improvement programs, including a recycling initiative and increased shuttle hours. As Governor, I will be able to fully implement these programs and more whilst supporting the growth of the Jupiter campus as a whole,” he said.


Owen McNamara, sophomore

“I am running for Jupiter Campus Governor to help improve my fellow students’ college experience. I hope to increase social engagement in Jupiter by creating new and exciting events on campus and in the community. If I am elected governor, my main goal will be to ensure that every student feels that they have a voice and that they will not be ignored,” he said.


Cody Steed, junior

“The FAU Northern Campus is experiencing a time of tremendous growth, and with it brings new challenges to our Student Government. If given the privilege to serve as Campus Governor, I would like to expand the student and dining hall relationship in order to better meet our students’ needs, continue the expansion of events tailored to varying student interests, and campus to institute green initiatives and sustainable practices through Student Government and other avenues. It would be an honor to continue my service to the Northern Campus in the position of Governor,” he said.


Jitesh Persaud, sophomore

“My campaign focuses on filling in the foundational gaps on the Jupiter campus. Whether it’s advocating for changes in the dining accommodations, expanding study spaces, or acting as a liaison to the administration, my role as governor is to be a servant to the student body,” he said.

Elections will open at midnight on Feb. 25 and close Feb. 26 at 11:59 p.m. on Owl Central. In-person polling stations will be located as follows: Boca Raton Breezeway and Recreation center, Davie Student Union and Jupiter Dining Hall.

Israel Fontoura is the managing editor for the University Press. For more information regarding this or other stories, email him at [email protected]