Meet the Spring 2022 SG Candidates

SG elections will take place on Feb. 22 through Owl Central.


Michael Gennaro, Managing Editor

It’s been at least four years since more than three presidential candidates ran for student body president and vice president. In 2022, there are four. Meet the candidates and decide who you want to vote for this year.

Student Body President and Vice President:

Isabella Donadio Pizzolato/Larissa Guimaraes Bafile 

Photo courtesy of Pizzolato.

Pizzolato is a newcomer; she’s never served in Student Government in any capacity before, but she wants to be a bridge between the students and SG. Her ultimate goal is to make SG more inclusive, which is something she doesn’t see now.

“You’d want to see students’ concerns addressed. But I don’t really see that [right now]. I’ve been at FAU for a while and I’ve never heard of Student Government asking anything like ‘are you okay?’” Pizzolato said. “Like ‘what should we do to improve your experience?’ I’ve never heard any of that.”

Pizzolato has been studying the job description for the president position, but admits she doesn’t know everything yet. Still, she has some experience in leadership. She was the president of the Medical Professionals Association at her old school, Palm Beach State.

“I’m an honest person. If I told you I know everything? I don’t. But I think a big part of [being a leader] is being willing to learn to do it and to know when to learn,” Pizzolato said. “Everything I read [about the role] was more focused on paperwork, nothing more towards the students itself. I would try to change things a little bit. Not too crazy.”

Voter turnout in recent SG elections has fallen; it was just 3.3% in Spring 2021, a 72.33% decrease from Spring 2020. Pizzolato is not surprised at the low turnout.

“I think people need a purpose [to vote]. What’s the point? Did someone ever talk to you? Did they ever do something for you? Then why would people vote?” Pizzolato said. “I can see the perspective of it. How can we be more inclusive? How can we show we care to the point where we don’t need to beg for a vote?”

Bafile did not respond to request for comment by time of publication, but reached out after publishing.

“My opinion about FAU is that I love the campus, I love the people, I love the space we have, I love our faculty, I love our structure but I think there’s much to be improved. As Isabella is saying, I think most students don’t realize the power they have in their hands. Especially as an international student, everything is harder for us. I know FAU brings a huge network for its community but most people don’t take advantage of it,” Bafile said. “I expect that as a VP I can make opportunities more clear, available, and easier to access.”

Pierce Kennamer/Dalia Calvillo

Photo courtesy of Kennamer.

An experienced SG ticket, Pierce Kennamer and Dalia Calvillo have big plans if they win. 

The pillars of their campaign are enhancement of campus life, academic resources, and student safety. Their first initiative will be to take aim at the aggressive petitioners on the Breezeway. Kennamer has received numerous complaints from students about the petitioners, some of whom told him they avoid the Breezeway entirely. 

“[We want] to have a university police officer on the Breezeway during tabling times, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Those clubs are trying to bring in new recruiting or to endorse or promote their club, and we have students avoiding that area,” Kennamer said.

If elected president, Kennamer wants to foster a sense of approachability in the office.

“I feel like sometimes the student body president and vice president feel unapproachable, or they’re never really seen. I feel like that’s a problem. We want to be walking alongside students; we don’t want to be walking above students,” Kennamer said. 

Kennamer knows his biggest chance to enact change will be on the university’s Board of Trustees, if he’s elected.

“You’re there to represent the students and if there’s something they’re voting on that’s not in the best interest of the students, I have every single right and it’s my duty as student body president to stand up and fight for the students,” Kennamer said. “I have no problem being the person to take [students’ concerns] in front of that board and saying ‘this is what students want.’”

Kennamer says he was very influential in reviving the once-dormant campus parking citation forgiveness program, where students can get parking tickets expunged in exchange for canned goods. The canned goods are donated to a food pantry in the Dean of Students office on the second floor in the Breezeway. He said over 90 students this year have taken advantage of the program, and is working to get it started on the Jupiter campus.

Kennamer also manages the Lyft program on campus that hands out free Lyft rides to students a few times per month. Kennamer is still working on that program. His next goal is to make it safer. He’s working with the What’s My Name foundation, an organization that fights human trafficking and sexual assault, to bring rideshare safety signs to campus reminding students to be mindful of the cars they get into. 

Kennamer is also working with the It’s On Us committee for a university-wide week to bring awareness to sexual assault on campus, what it looks like, and how to stop it.

Lastly, Kennamer was an influential voice in the creation of the testing reimbursement program, where students can take tests like the MCAT at the testing center free of charge.

Calvillo’s main goal is better communication with the Senate, student body, and campuses outside of the Boca Raton campus. 

“Something that we really want to change is the communication between us and the student body. We hold office hours, but it’s rare for students outside of [Student Government] to come. And we really want [to] listen to others and their needs,” Calvillo said. 

Most of Calvillo’s initiatives mirror her running mate, Kennamer. She has one in particular that’s close to her heart though, that she came up with herself.

“I am a first-generation student, and I want to represent them. The goal of a first-gen student is to graduate, to take that big step,” Calvilllo said. “It’s very important. I’d like to give all students that graduate a free photo shoot, as something to look forward to. That’s one of my own initiatives.”

Calvillo mentioned having sit downs with students at Starbucks or other coffee shops on campus as a way to reach students and hear their concerns first hand.

The low voter turnout can be changed by being more available to students than their predecessors, Calvillo said.

“A way to secure [their vote] is to let students know what is going to happen. Letting people know that there’s work that has been done… I think people don’t vote because they don’t know what’s been done. A big part of it is us communicating with them [the students],” Calvillo said.

Lily MacDonald/Kaila Palmer

Photo courtesy of MacDonald.

Lily MacDonald and Kaila Palmer have an ambitious list of initiatives they want to work on if they win.

MacDonald, the current student body Vice President, wants better communication between SG and the student body and to increase school spirit, and Palmer, currently a Senator, wants to work on making SG more diverse.

“I don’t see many people of color necessarily in government,” Palmer said. “So I thought it’d be a great idea to run and bring diversity to Student Government, to a leadership role at FAU… Diversity is at the top of my list.”

MacDonald wants to implement a council that will include all organizations on campus to make sure that SG is receiving students’ feedback.

“It will be a way to increase communication among the different organizations on events and different things that are happening, as well as a way to mitigate any issues that students are facing,” MacDonald said.

Another priority initiative, MacDonald said, is diversifying the dining options on campus. She wants to increase dining hours, as she doesn’t believe the current hours work for all students, especially those with night classes.

“We have some ideas of different restaurants that we would like to bring onto campus,” MacDonald said.

MacDonald and Palmer also want a Greek unity garden, a place that will serve as a representative space for all Greek organizations on campus. MacDonald and Palmer don’t see much unity between the organizations right now and believe an initiative like the garden could change that. They also want to get the campus food pantry a refrigerator and a freezer, something the pantry does not currently have.

“Another thing that’s been promised in the past that we really want to make sure gets completed this year is free feminine products in all bathrooms. As a woman, the problems with being on campus and going to the bathroom and needing those feminine products, but not having any on me or any in the bathroom to even purchase,” MacDonald said. 

Lastly, MacDonald spoke of better allocating the money that is given to Student Government. SG has a $9.6 million budget and she wants to see that money spent wisely, to benefit the students.

To increase school spirit, MacDonald wants to do more things that engage the student body. She said that as Vice President, she helped organize a trip to Gainesville and provided 500 free tickets for FAU students to attend the football season opener at the University of Florida. 

“I would like to continue that tradition as long as possible,” MacDonald said. “When students come out, they realize how fun it is and how cool the school spirit atmosphere is once you’re sitting down at the game… It’s a really cool opportunity to increase school spirit.”

MacDonald also plans to lobby to increase the add/drop period. Currently it is one week, which she doesn’t believe is enough time to learn if a class or professor is right for students, or to find new classes if students do drop a class. She wants to see it increased to two weeks.

“I would like to use my spot on the Board of Trustees in order to persuade them to push these initiatives through because all of our platform points have come directly from students and what students want,” MacDonald said. “I know I’m going to be a driving force for all these initiatives and make sure that they are all executed.”

MacDonald has experience passing ambitious initiatives. As Vice President, her vaccine incentive program convinced over 400 students to be vaccinated in exchange for a Visa gift card.

On the topic of voter turnout, MacDonald had a simple message:

“The Board of Trustees, they sit above President Kelly, and they really make the most distinguishable differences on campus,” she said. “Once all students are more aware of the power that student officials have, they’ll be more likely to vote.”

Adam Trout/Yago Cecchini

Photo by Eston Parker III

Adam Trout and Yago Cecchini are running together to address the concerns and needs of the common student. They want to better allocate the budget and upgrade some of the amenities on campus.

“As a student that’s not in a fraternity or involved with Student Government, I feel like I represent more the everyday student here on campus, and we want to tackle more relevant issues than some of the other candidates,” Trout said.

Cecchini decided to run with Trout to help better allocate funds to address important needs on campus, among other things. Cecchini is pursuing an MBA at FAU after completing his bachelor’s degree from Palm Beach State college.

Class availability is a major focus for Cecchini. If his ticket wins, he’d like to use his platform as Student Body Vice President to push for changes to the class schedule. He has had problems with scheduling conflicts and class availability in his time as a student.

“The entire point of the university is to offer classes to students to get their degrees, right? If you don’t have classes available, that’s a huge issue,” Cecchini said. 

One of Trout’s big initiatives is parking reform. He says it’s hard to find parking on campus, and that red faculty spaces are barely used and that the parking lines should be redrawn.

In lot 23, Trout said “there are 62 parking spots that hardly ever get used by faculty that could be more useful to students.”

Trout wants to look at other lots besides lot 23, and see if he can lobby to get more green and blue spots added for students. He says it’s especially hard to find spots at night.

Better amenities are key to the Trout/Cecchini ticket.

“If you go into General South, you’re sitting in very dated classrooms in very uncomfortable seats. You don’t have any cell service,” Trout said. “If we can fix some of those issues, we could be doing a lot better than we are right now.”

Cecchini wants to lower the activity and service fees that all students pay. Students pay $12.32 per credit hour in activity and service fees to the university.

To increase voter turnout and engagement with SG, Trout wants to have more engagement with students in classrooms if his ticket wins. 

“If the students can see that the Student Government is actually caring about their interests in school, because the education here is supposed to be the foundation for the rest of your life,” Trout said. “Students, I feel, would be more obligated to come out and vote because the main issues that they have are being addressed.”

Cecchini mentioned a newsletter or better marketing to get the student body to know the candidates better as one way of increasing engagement and voting.

Boca Raton Campus Governor:

Deanna Mancuso

Photo courtesy of Mancuso.

Deanna Mancuso is a newcomer to Florida; she moved to the sunshine state last February. She’s majoring in marketing and currently works as a marketing director for the student government House of Representatives. When she graduates, Mancuso wants to run for local office.

Mancuso wanted to get involved with SG because she said she had a rough time fitting in when she first got to campus. She said her sorority sisters convinced her to join the House of Representatives.

“After that, I felt like I was getting really involved on campus. I moved up from just a regular representative to being a part of the House Administrative Cabinet as the marketing officer, and the vice chair of the Campus Action Committee,” Mancuso said. “It was so exciting. And then I ended up applying to be a part of the governor’s cabinet, and I got the position as the Boca Raton campus marketing director.”

Mancuso has steadily risen through the ranks and believes she’s ready to handle more responsibility. Through working under the current governor, Rhoda Hoods, Mancuso has learned a lot about the position. 

“Rhoda Hoods is amazing. I think [if I win], I will be able to accomplish a lot, and I was like, ‘this is something I really want to do,’” Mancuso said.

Mancuso’s main goal is to overhaul the 24-hour study building, located near Chick-Fil-A in the Breezeway.

“I’ve already started talking with some Student Union administrators about remodeling the space to make it nicer,” Mancuso said.

She also wants to extend campus recreation hours, as those with night classes might miss events with the current hours, and to enrich the dining experience on campus.

“I know that there are some breaks during the day where students can’t go to the dining hall because they’re preparing for the next meal. I want to explore a deal with the dining services to allow grab and go options to be open during those breaks,” Mancuso said. 

The campus governor’s main objective is to oversee all campus programs, according to Mancuso. If she wins, it will be her responsibility to see that all student organizations are running smoothly and to be there to help them if not. 

The governor also oversees Multicultural Programming, which constantly has events around campus, and the annual Bonfire music festival.

“Making sure every student has an event that represents them. That they can celebrate their holidays and things and feel at home even if they’re not with their family,” Mancuso said.

Beyond her work at SG, Mancuso is the founder and president of Owls Speech and Debate. The organization has already won awards in the novice category, and she says she is currently planning a tournament to be hosted at FAU in April against other universities. 

Lisa Brown-Banic and Mark Meyer are also running for Boca Raton campus governor but did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Editor’s Note: This article is part of the UP’s 2022 special election issue which you can pick up on campus or read online here.

Michael Gennaro is the Managing Editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or message him on Twitter or Instagram @mycoolgennaro