Relief and grief as ‘Taking U Forward’ wins

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Brandon Mitchell and the Taking U Forward team celebrate after winning the election on February 23, 2011. Lindsay Brown//News Editor

Tension mounted on the Rock before winners of the spring Student Government (SG) elections were announced Wednesday afternoon.
Brandon Mitchell, Ashley Taggart and Jake Krupa all from the “Taking U Forward” ticket won the executive board elections and will be sworn into their new positions March 30.
“I feel great,” said Brandon Mitchell, newly elected SG president. “The fact the students took the time to go out and vote and have faith in our team is awesome. I can’t wait to get started.”
Relief and grief from all three parties followed after the winners were announced.
“I feel relieved,” said Ashley Taggart, newly elected vice president. “I am happy it’s over and it’s kind of exciting. This is what I’m going to be doing for the next year. It’s a crazy thing that’s happening to me right now.”
While they were disappointed, the losing tickets expressed their support for the “Taking U Forward” team.
“Obviously, I’m disappointed in the results, but I’m also extremely proud of the campaign we ran, and I have no regrets,” said Michael Kaplan, presidential candidate for the “True To U” ticket. “We did all that we could, and I wish Brandon and the ‘Taking U Forward’ team all the best in their term.”
Josh Llano, presidential candidate from the “U Know What It Is” ticket conveyed similar emotions and support.
“Despite the adversity throughout, it was a good run and I’m glad I stuck with it,” Llano said. “Congratulations to Brandon and his team; they ran an excellent campaign and will do a great job representing UM.”
In addition to voting for senators and executive board members, students voted in favor of two out of the three referenda. The Committee on Student Organizations (COSO) and the Green U initiative for SG referenda were passed, while the Distraction Magazine referendum did not receive enough votes, despite the effort made on behalf of the magazine’s staff. The referendum would have raised the student activity fee by $1 in order to financially support the magazine.
The Green U initiative will raise the student activity fee by $5. In the long run UM will save hundreds of thousands of dollars by implementing ideas like diversified recycling containers and reusable energy sources.
In spring 2012 the student activity fee will be raised by $5.50 and will total to $137.50.
Even with all the campaign hype, voter turn out this year was lower than last year. According to Joel Lugones, chair of the SG Elections Commission, this year there were 1,568 voters as opposed to roughly 2,000 students who voted last year.
Supporters of the “Taking U Forward” ticket are optimistic for the future.
“The ‘Taking U Forward’ ticket promised to take the U and SG forward, and I believe that they have the ability to follow through,” said Ryan Aquilina, SG press secretary who also worked on the “Taking U Forward” campaign.
Yet, there was one candidate whose results didn’t quite match up to Aquilina’s expectations.
“For the first time in a long time, Sebastian the Ibis didn’t receive write-in votes and I think that’s the most surprising part of this election,” Aquilina said.

Stephanie Parra may be contacted at sparra@themiamihurricane.com.

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2 Comments

  1. Although I do agree that I am nervous that the Green U funds have no set allocations yet other than abstract ideas, I do not feel that the money will be “wasted”. Although wind turbines are a large scale project that take years to plan out, solar panels can be installed fairly easily and can have immediate impacts on campus. Green initiatives take time to setup and this is a long-term project for sure.

    However, I do not feel students should be the main source of funds for these projects. But I am interested in and have support for the the Green U initiatives that may in fact save the University money in the future.

  2. Congrats to Taking U Forward, and I applaud all the candidates who took the time and effort for their campaigns. However, I am disappointed in our student body for voting for the Green U Initiative. While it seems awesome at the surface, this large sum of money will have no administrative oversight or direction; therefore, it will be wasted. It was a last ditch effort for some students to receive recognition for grad schools and resumes. The assumption that undergrads can coordinate the installation of entirely new energy systems, water turbines, and solar panels throughout our campuses is ridiculous. Good luck with that.
    I am also very upset with the failure of the Distraction referendum. With Dean Grogg leaving his position as SOC Dean, Distraction Magazine will most likely die. Students have worked very hard to keep our school’s only magazine running. Distraction’s workers rely upon the spreads for job interviews, portfolios, and enjoyment from the entire student body.