Nick Larkins and Cristina Barreto were named Student Government Association's 2017-18 president and vice president Wednesday in front of the Student Union around 6 p.m.
A record number of students turned out to vote in this year’s election, with a total of 11,346 official votes.
Nick and Cristina received 52.5 percent of the total votes.
Nearly 100 supporters applauded and exchanged hugs after SGA Supervisor of Elections, Jay Faylo, announced the winners.
“I’m just so grateful, the first thing I did was dropped to a knee and thanked God,” Larkins, a junior health sciences major, said. “Cristina and I are ready to make change happen. We’re ready to revolutionize the motives behind everything done in SGA.”
Larkins and Barreto said they are impressed and encouraged with the record number of voters, and thanked their supporters for helping them clinch the election.
“There was [a difference of about 600 votes] … I’m thanking every single person that worked on our campaign, because they could have been that one person who brought in those 600 votes,” Barreto, a junior industrial engineering and management systems major, said.
Both Larkins and Barreto's parents were present for the results.
“We’re so proud of [Nick], Cristina and all of their friends. We met so many people today ... it’s just been a really great experience across the board,” Larkins’ father, Dale, said.
Opponents Josh Boloña and Jad Shalhoub received 47.5 percent of the total votes.
Despite the loss, Shalhoub said they are determined to stay motivated for the student body and learn from their experience.
“It’s a historic campaign in the sense that we got a lot of people to come out and vote, so I’m glad that we’re getting more students at UCF involved,” Shalhoub, a junior industrial engineering major said. “I don’t see failure as a negative thing … It’s something you have to work through mentally and if you’re strong minded then you come out of it a better person, and that’s what I intend to do.”
Larkins and Barreto expressed their respect towards their opponents, and noted their eagerness to continue working side-by-side for the betterment of the university.
“We think they’re great leaders in this university, and if the vote was that close, I’m sure their supporters want them to be a part of the university's leadership, so in order to properly represent the student body we hope to work with them,” Barreto said.
As the newly elected president and vice president flocked to take photos and express their gratitude, supporters chatted about the results and changes they hope to see at the hands of Larkins and Barreto.
“One of the things I love is handling the $18.6 million budget, and I know, with Nick, we can make a lot of good changes … I’m most excited about the potential [Nick] has to make a difference,” said Andre Ong, a senior finance major and SGA’s chief financial officer.
President Larkins and Vice President Barreto will now work to fulfill three main aspects of their platform: mental health, parking and student jobs.
“We’re always going to be working on big things and trying to accomplish new things for the university, so I don’t think the stress [of the election] is ever going to go away, and I hope it doesn’t, because ultimately that’s what is going to keep us motivated,” Barreto said.
Originally published March 29