Following a week of serious mudslinging, rumor-spitting and complaint filing with the Elections Commission, The Hurricane sits down with the two SG presidential runoff candidates for a candid interview.
When Vance Aloupis was in kindergarten he wanted the lead in The Ugly Duckling, so he negotiated with teachers and students to ensure he would get the part. He also sang “I’m a Swan” all night long.
“Vance has been coming up the ranks since he was a little boy,” Pam Aloupis, his mother, said.
She said Aloupis is the mediator in the family, always smoothing things over among his seven siblings.
“I can promise you that if you asked all of my children about Vance, they would say, ‘He’s my hero,'” she said. “He’s always calling them and telling them how much he loves them.”
Aloupis has two adopted Chinese sisters whom he went to pick up with his mom at an orphanage in China. He spent seven weeks learning their native language of Mandarin.
Aloupis is also part of the Grace Children’s Foundation based in Manhattan.
Aloupis brought his leadership skills and involvement to UM when he became VP of his fraternity, Pi Kappa Alpha, after just one semester and became director of Up ‘Till Dawn and publicity chair for the Get Out the Vote initiative this past year.
“I’ve made my leadership involvement on campus a gradual experience,” Aloupis said. “I don’t think it’s a good idea to just jump into a dozen leadership positions.”
“I like to focus on what I’m doing and dedicate myself to whatever I’m working on,” he said.
Aloupis admits that he is not all that people may make him out to be.
“I go out to the Grove every now and then, but most of the time I just like to take it slow,” Aloupis said.
Aloupis has a tattoo of a big cross on his upper back that he designed.
“It’s really about spirituality,” Aloupis said. “I have faith on many levels, in many aspects of my life.”
Aloupis, who has worked with Billy Bludgus on Up ‘Till Dawn and a number of volunteer events on campus, says he looks forward to continuing to work with Bludgus and his ticket.
“We work really well together – I’m glad the fact that we’re running against each other isn’t going to affect that,” Aloupis said.
Aloupis says he and his supporters are proud that they have not been involved in all the dirty campaigning going on around campus.”We haven’t allowed ourselves to be a part of all the drama,” Aloupis said. “We’ve stood our ground and remained strong in running a clean campaign based on platform and character.”
Aloupis says he guarantees his continued involvement throughout campus, regardless of the runoff results.
“There’s no reason not to stay involved,” Aloupis said. “We’re going to push our platforms no matter what.”
It was a breezy Saturday afternoon when The Hurricane sat down in the UC Patio to interview Billy Bludgus. Less than a minute into the interview, a Chartwells employee interrupted the interview and sparked up a conversation with the candidate.
“Can’t talk now – I’m in the middle of an interview with the school paper,” Bludgus said.
“You running for something?” asked the employee.
“Yeah,” Bludgus replied.
“Good – get it!” said the employee.
This encounter is typical for Bludgus, who has been involved in over 30 committees, focus groups and leadership positions since he set foot on campus. Currently, he’s SG chief of staff external and captain of the cross-country team.
Bludgus says he lives his life on the theme of service and that his involvement stems from a deep-rooted personal life philosophy and spiritual background.
“If there’s anything I would think people would say of me when I die it is that I was a man of service,” Bludgus said. “I think I was put on this earth to better the lives of other people and make their lives a little bit easier.”
Bludgus’ mom, Dee, vouches for her son’s words.
“Billy was always the one to say, ‘I’ll do it,'” she said. “He’s never hesitated to help anyone who needed it.”
She also said that her son, a Bayonne, NJ resident, became a local star when he earned a six-county “Teen Hero Award” his junior year in high school.
“He was in all the local papers,” she said.
Something that not everyone knows about Bludgus: he has two tattoos and a tongue piercing.
“I have a tribal sun tattooed on my left shoulder signifying life and energy and a Chinese symbol for strength and endurance on my right shoulder,” Bludgus said. “I try to live my life according to those principles.”
Bludgus gave his perspective on this year’s SG elections.
“With all that’s going on, there’s probably the least to question about our ticket,” he said. “The guys in the orange shirts have been well-behaved.”
Bludgus said he’s friendly with his runoff competition and respects him as a candidate.
“I think Vance is a real people person,” he said. “He’s really friendly and outgoing.”
Bludgus said he was pleased with the voter turnout and attributes it to the dedication of the candidates and their supporters.
“It’s both ridiculous and spectacular,” Bludgus said. “It was a true rainbow of campaign shirt colors on top of the Rock the other day.”
“Let’s hope the number of voters carries off into the runoffs.”
Bludgus says he will continue to play an active role in SG, even if he loses the race.
“SG holds a strong place in my heart, and I wouldn’t even think about giving it up,” he said.