Power shifts to new hands

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The University of Miami welcomed its new student government president Tuesday night as Lionel Moise handed over the title to Christina Farmer at the annual student government inauguration and banquet.

Moise’s accomplishments were recognized by Coral Gables Mayor Don Slesnick, who presented the former president with a key to the city.

“It’s just been an amazing experience, and it’s been fun for us to get the chance to work on things that really impact not only students but the university as a whole,” Moise said.

He said of all his initiatives, which included bringing back the Ibis Ride, putting a printer in the UC and going trayless in the dining halls, he was most proud of being able to extend library hours during finals.

While Moise ran last year unopposed, Farmer’s UFirst team fought fiercely through a competitive runoff election. In spite of their more stressful beginning, Moise hopes Farmer, Vice President Valentina Lamas and Treasurer Nick Cote will enjoy their term as much as he and his team did.

“I’m very confident Christina and the rest of her board will accomplish all of their goals, but I really hope they make sure to have fun,” Moise said. Cheering and laughter filled the Hurricane 100 Room of the BankUnited Center as awards, thanks and certificates of recognition were presented to student government members.

The prestigious Golden Hurricane Award, given to one student each year for exceptional work in student government, was awarded to Romy Portuondo for her exemplary work with dining services.

Keith Fletcher, director of the Butler Center for Volunteer Service and Leadership Development, was this year’s recipient of the William R. Butler Award for Administrative Excellence.

After the new executive board was sworn in by Supreme Court Chief Justice Kartik Telukuntla, Farmer eagerly delivered her inaugural address.

“Val, Nick, the team and I are ready to take on the new challenges and adventures that will face us,” Farmer said. “We started out as a group of individuals wanting to improve the school but we have become a single entity.”

Farmer and her team are already meeting with advisers trying to improve pre-professional tracks, working on new University of Miami applications for iPhones and BlackBerrys and organizing plans for a fresh Farmer’s Market for next year.

Most of all Farmer said she is looking forward to reaching out to the students and making student government more accessible through lunches, dinners and other meet-and-greet events such as the one held Monday at the Rock, when UFirst T-shirts and pizza were handed out to passersby.

“Anything we can do to improve the student experience and have students as partners is a really great thing,” said Patricia Whitely, vice president for student affairs. “Student government here is a great legacy and the legacy continues tonight.”

Nina Ruggiero may be contacted at nruggiero@themiamihurricane.com.

Info Box:

2010-2011 Executive Board

President- Christina Farmer

Vice President- Valentina Lamas

Treasurer- Nick Cote

Executive Secretary- Jake Krupa

Speaker of the Senate- Aaron Esman

Speaker Pro Tempore- Jordan Thomas

Chief of Staff Internal- Romy Portuondo

Chief of Staff External- Pietro Bortoletto

Executive at Large Internal- Matthew Robayna

Executive at Large External- Jennifer Del Toro

Press Secretary-  Ryan Aquilina

Category 5 Chair- Brandon Mitchell

Category 5 Vice-Chair- Doug Aguililla

Elections Commission Chair- Fernanda Sanchez

Elections Commission Vice-Chair- Lindsay Kushner

Chief Justice Nominee- Vincent Foster

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