Tents with free food and candy, flyers lining every breezeway around campus, and the sound of strident campaign promises can only mean one thing; election season is back at the University of Miami.
Student government elections start on Monday, Feb. 20 at midnight and will end on Wednesday, Feb. 22. This year, there are three candidates running in the presidential race. Juniors Angel Aguilar and Niles Niseem are running on opposing tickets, “All about U” and “UndeniableU” respectively, while Juan Fleches is running an independent campaign for president.
On Monday, Feb. 13, the candidates announced their respective platforms and have since been engaging with students through several on-campus events.
On Tuesday, Feb. 14, students could meet the candidates in exchange for a donut and flowers at the Meet the Candidates event. On Wednesday, Feb.15, the student government held a vote rally, where students could meet with election commissioners and ask candidates questions. On Thursday, Feb. 16, students challenged candidates with their important questions and concerns at the student government debate.
The “All About U” ticket is a team of two juniors and one sophomore vying for spots in the student government executive branch. Aguilar is joined by sophomore Angela Ansah, the vice president candidate and junior Paige Hawthorne, the treasurer candidate.
“All about U is all about bringing Miami alive to this campus, it’s about bringing the culture of Miami to the University of Miami,” said Aguilar, an economics and accounting major on the pre-law track.
Hawthorne, a junior majoring in management on the pre-med track said their ticket is all about making sure every student feels like they are being heard.
“All about U is a transparent platform that actually cares about students. We want to foster open communication so students know they can come to us and voice their issues. We are the creative backbone to solving your issues,” said Hawthorn.
The ticket plans to implement an annual “305 Day” to celebrate Miami and foster partnerships with local community and professional organizations. They are pushing for updated academic guidance programs, such as a “Meet your Major” program to connect canes with alumni in their industry. They also plan to increase housing transparency due to limited on-campus housing availability. Finally, the ticket plans to expand diversity initiatives on campus, including giving multicultural organizations more resources.
Niseem, a junior majoring in electronic media production, is running on the “Undeniable U” ticket. He is joined by his two running mates, Bria White, a junior entrepreneurship major and vice president candidate and Jeyra Rivero, a sophomore broadcast journalism major and treasurer candidate.
“What we’re trying to do here is create an undeniably phenomenal experience for every student on campus no matter who you are, where you’re from, or how you look at life. We want to capture that same electric feeling we have during homecoming and disperse that energy and vibe through campus Monday through Friday,” Niseem said.
“UndeniableU” is pushing to increase student government’s reach on campus by partnering with greek life and cultural student organizations. They want to heighten commuter initiatives by implementing prioritized parking spaces and parking pass scholarships. The ticket also wants to increase Greek life leadership responsiveness and philanthropy awareness among the student body. Finally, “UndeniableU” plans to ensure the completion of a multicultural center.
Rivero believes her ticket is unique because each candidate has had various involvements at UM and can help target different communities on campus.
“I think that students should vote for our ticket because all of us want to make a difference on campus. We have a very diverse ticket and each of us offer different strengths and things to the table and we want to work together and use that diversity to target different areas on campus,” Rivero said.
The vice president of student government is traditionally in charge of leading the Freshman Leadership Council (FLC), a group of 20 freshman leaders who work on projects throughout the year under the mentorship of more experienced student government members. Ansah was a member of the FLC her freshman year and said she’s excited to build relationships with the incoming freshmen.
“When I was a freshman, I would look up to the vice president because I loved her confidence and energy. If I was vice president, I would use all my experiences and skills to be a cheerleader and resource for freshmen in the council,” said Ansah.
Although White wasn’t on FLC when she was a first year, she stated at the debate that she wants to expand awareness for programs like this one, so students of all demographics on campus have the opportunity to apply.
Juan Fleches, a junior biomedical engineering major and the only independent candidate running for president, says he’s motivated by his love for UM and wanting to leave a positive impact.
“I’m running independently because I want to prove to people that in order to have a change, you have to see the problem from a different point of view. I’ve never been involved in student government, and I’m outside that bubble. I think bringing an outsider’s point of view to this organization would really benefit students,” said Fleches.
If elected, Fleches plans to implement initiatives to bring back the “Plus One” scholarship, a program that grants undergraduate students an extra tuition free year on campus and the commencement ball for graduating seniors. He also wants to work on expanding access to the IM fields so that club teams can use them at reasonable times.
How to Vote:
Students will be able to vote until Wednesday, Feb. 22 at 11:59pm on Engage either by ticket or separately for individual candidates. There will also be in person voting by the Lakeside patio on Feb. 20, 21, and 22 starting at noon.
Election results will be announced on Thursday, Feb. 23 on the Lakeside Patio. If any runoffs are required, they will take place from Monday, Feb. 27 through Wednesday, March 1 and the results will be announced on Thursday, March 2.