Relief and grief as ‘Taking U Forward’ wins

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.