Ashley and Darwins article photo CJ

SGA vice presidential hopeful Darwins Olcima hands out free campaign shirts near Memory Mall on Wednesday. Olcima and his running mate, Ashley Stewart, hope to make all students feel included at UCF.

The lighthearted friendship between Ashley Stewart and Darwins Olcima is apparent, as are the many similarities they share — they are both junior psychology majors on the industrial and organizational psychology track and current members of the Student Government Association's executive cabinet.

Now, they are running together for SGA student body president and vice president.

Stewart and Olcima began their Wednesday morning laughing and joking with each other outside of the Chick-fil-A on campus.

"[Olcima] will probably try to finish my sentences," Stewart said.

They also share the same hopes for UCF. Stewart and Olcima said they want to make students feel comfortable and valuable on campus. It's all embedded in their campaign slogan: "A Seat at the Table."

"When you walk into the SGA office [in the Student Union] and you see the Scantron and you swipe your ID and walk out, there's always this table that nobody sits at," Olcima said. "I want everyone to know that ... they have a seat there."

In addition to fostering inclusivity, they said they also want to celebrate the diversity of the student body at UCF.

"Literally every single person gets a voice," Stewart said. "It's about representing the different communities at UCF."

Olcima said his previous involvement on campus inspired him to run for SGA vice president.

"I wanted to use my experience as an orientation leader, as [a Resident Assistant] and as a mentor to talk to students at home, inside the classroom and outside the classroom and get that full perspective," Olcima said. "Students may not need textbooks. What they may need is ... more connection with the student body."

Stewart has similar motivations for running, and she said she hopes she can build a stronger connection between students and SGA officials if she is elected SGA president.

"I've been involved in so many things outside of SGA, and I've seen the difference from getting my job at SGA and the outside [world]," Stewart said. "A majority of students haven't been in SGA and don't know anything about SGA. I'm running because I want to eliminate that gap."

Olcima said he notices a similar gap between the student body and the UCF faculty.

"Seeing how a lot of first-time college students, first-generation students and largely transfer students are not understood ... I wanted to communicate that to our faculty," Olcima said. "I saw this as a way to get UCF to be much more bonded and connected."

Stewart currently serves as the director of empathy and equality for SGA — a position that focuses on social justice and smooth integration for students.

Olcima's position as the director of service for SGA covers mentorship, volunteering and leadership.

Together, they believe they have what it takes to lead at the next level and make UCF a better home for all students.

"Our cultures and our backgrounds are so fundamental to who we are," Stewart said. "We really make up what UCF is becoming."

Stewart referred to the growing diversity at UCF, especially with the number of Hispanic and Latino students enrolling, which has been a strong vision at UCF for years. 

Voting for the 2019 SGA presidential election will begin Monday and will run through Wednesday. Students can vote on myUCF.

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