Cheers and applause filled the Student Union Atrium Wednesday night as the results for the 2018 UCF SGA Senate elections were announced.
More than 4,000 votes were cast for the elections this year, compared to 3,477 votes cast in 2017. The SGA Senate is composed of 66 students who are elected every year by the student body. The senate allocates funds to students and organizations for conferences, campus events, activities and more. Senators represent different colleges and propose initiatives and legislation that affects students and the university.
Student senators will begin their positions on Oct. 4.
College of Sciences
Joseph Davis, junior political science major, was elected to represent the College of Sciences in the senate for his third year in a row. Davis, 21, said one of his biggest goals for this year is to improve off-campus student housing.
He said he knows many students who have had unpleasant experiences with off-campus housing.
“The ultimate goal is to make it so that these off-site campus locations become as student friendly as possible,” Davis said.
Davis said he has already had some conversations and meetings with UCF's vice president of Student Development and Enrollment Services about his goals.
He said he thinks off-campus housing complexes should be more understanding of student needs and the semester timeline, such as when classes begin or end and when finals are. He said complexes should not be quick to "throw" students out of their living arrangements due to contractual agreements that don't consider school schedules. He also said some off-campus complexes that use UCF shuttles should especially consider working with student schedules.
Davis said he will be formulating a plan to accomplish his goals throughout the coming weeks.
Davis said he also wants to revamp the Election Commission and the Election Statutes to make running for office accessible to as many students as possible.
Davis explained that students who are looking into being elected have a greater advantage when they're on a ticket, meaning they have the support of other candidates that are already in the senate.
Davis said students need to have connections within the senate in order to get on a ticket most of the time, which he doesn't believe is fair for new students who want to get involved.
“It’s incredibly disadvantageous for new people who don’t know,” Davis said. “That’s something I want to look into regulating so as many people can access as possible.”
Davis said he will pursue a leadership position for the senate president pro tempore, which oversees Registered Student Organization funding process and the bill process. Students pursuing leadership positions will be potentially voted into the positions by the senate.
"I have a lot to offer, not only to the senate but to the student body," Davis said. "I consider myself a guy whose able to get a lot [of] things done in a little bit of time.”
Other senators elected to represent the College of Sciences are Giorgi Beruashvili, Gabriel Soto, Anthony Lopez, Ranya Eid, Natalia Fernandez, Madison Berman, Robert Hill and Stephanie Blanco.
College of Undergraduate Studies
Theressa Tong is a senior interdisciplinary studies major who was elected to represent the College of Undergraduate Studies. Tong, 21, said she plans on getting back her leadership position of deputy pro tempore of Legislative Affairs, a position she held since January.
Tong said she wants to work for a parking pass payment plan where students don’t have to pay for their parking passes all at once, making it easier on students who are on a tight budget. Tong also plans to work with her fellow senators to create a more civil and friendly environment within SGA that allows students to feel more comfortable asking questions and expressing their opinions.
She said that lately she’s noticed a level of tension within the SGA office and cited "discrimination that is unattended and a lot of microaggressions."
Tong plans to overcome the issue by encouraging people to speak up without feeling like they are going to get scrutinized for what they say.
Anthony Pagano was also elected as a senator for the College of Undergraduate Studies.
College of Graduate Studies
Rachel Friant, 23, is a graduate political science student who is now on her second term representing the College of Graduate Studies.
Friant is working on lowering the cost of transcripts in UCF, which cost $15 per copy. Friant said UCF uses a third-party system called Parchment Inc., which is how UCF sends out official transcripts.
Students also have the opportunity to pick up their transcripts in person by requesting them 48 hours in advance, which lowers the cost to $10. Friant said one of the problems that affects students is that many graduate schools require transcripts to be sent electronically, which forces students to choose the $15 option.
Friant said a resolution was sent to the Registrar's Office a few weeks ago to lower the cost of the transcripts. She said she is waiting to hear back and schedule a meeting with someone from the Registrar's Office to work on a plan to lower transcript costs.
Friant said another one of her goals is to unify the Senior Scholars Program at UCF, which allows high-performing college seniors to start taking graduate courses and helps them get a head start to easily transition into a graduate program, according to UCF's Department of Political Science.
“The requirements and advertising and marketing differ very much even between the same college in different departments, so I’d like to start by unifying that system in the College of Sciences,” Friant said.
Friant said she also wants to market and advertise the program to freshmen and sophomores so they can have a goal to work toward if it’s something they are interested in.
Other senators elected to represent the College of Graduate Studies are Scarletta Thomas, Travis Parrish, Michael Riley, Kendall Coffman, Patrick Cherubin, Timothy Hill, Diane Lieu and Sindy Pegus.
College of Arts and Humanities
- Gabrielle Orphali
- Isabella Bustamante
- John Tuley
- Rachel Huss
College of Business Administration
- Abdullahi Musa
- Ari Bell
- Daniel Robles
- Ethan Lewin
- Jake Morran
- Jawhar Coleman
- Logan Mahan
- Matthew Gold
College of Community Innovation and Education
- Ashley Samson
- Brett Goldberg
- Danielle Lyttle
- James Myers
- Matthew Horn
- Sierra Scott
College of Engineering and Computer Science
- Brian Walls
- Christian Padron
- Dylan Gillespie
- Emma Brandow
- Forrest McClellan
- Jacob Henson
- Joseph Truss
- Rasheed Kerster
- Sebastian Rangel
- Thais Jimenez
College of Health Professions and Sciences
- Amanda Gilliland
- Carmen Gray
- Kevin Olsen
- Michele Guillard
- Ryan Doran
- Ryan Regan
Rosen College of Hospitality Management
- Cory Goicocechea
- Michael Interlicchio
College of Medicine
- Emma Trittin
- Erika Lytle
- Yaqub Kassoo
College of Nursing
- Kristin Hunter
Nicholson School of Communication and Media
- Fritz Farrow
- Jesse Slomowitz
- Kristina Lawrence
- Natalia Caballero
College of Optics and Photonics (2) Write-in Candidates
- Connor Dimatteo
- Mitchell Hunsucker