Presidential, vice-presidential candidates Denise Halpin and Emilio Collyer run unopposed

By: Becca Griesemer/Staff Writer

Though student government elections aren’t until April 5 and 6, the new president and vice president at the Biscayne Bay Campus are, save any unexpected circumstances, already known.

The candidate for president, Denise Halpin, and vice president, Emilio Collyer, are running on a ballot, and have no opponents.

Halpin believes it’s best for the student body to have options and to be well educated on candidate’s visions, but doesn’t deny that running unopposed has its advantages.

“It’s obviously easier on us because we don’t have to worry, in a sense, as much,” Halpin said. “But I’m still passionate that people need to come out and vote for us, because we should still be making an effort for them to know why we’re running and making sure their experience at FIU is one they’ll always remember.”

Collyer said it’s just the way things unfolded.

“It’s not something for me to decide if it’s good or not that we’re running uncontested, it’s just the way the situation is now,” he said. “There’s nothing I can do to make someone else run against me, and it doesn’t matter if I’m happy about it.”

Halpin, a junior stuck deciding between majoring in hospitality, business, or both, started SGA as vice president last year. While she has enjoyed the leadership which has been instilled in her, she admits it can be a lot for a student to take on.

“Obviously some of the extensive hours and the continuous push and effort that get put into things are a little bit tiring at times,” Halpin said. “But it’s something where you’re nonstop working for the University, and it’s great.”

Collyer, a 20-year-old junior who completed the international baccalaureate diploma program in high school, graduated summa cum laude with 54 college credits. Although he wants a career corporate event planning, and not in politics, Collyer said he always likes to be involved in leadership positions.

“So right away I came into the [fall] semester and joined student government as the director of lectures; and it’s been a wild ride,” Collyer said, who was treasurer of his high school’s student government and president of the Future Business Leaders of America his senior year.

The wild ride Collyer refers to is the implementation of a preplanned and well-advertised way of presenting lectures at BBC that he came up with, as opposed to the sporadic events of previous semesters. With his direction, the lecture committee advertised the complete ‘Lecture Series’ during the first week of the spring semester.

“I think we did a really good job having three very diverse speakers: a LGBT, a hip-hop performer, and an oceanographer, which appeals to almost everyone in the student body, especially BBC,” Collyer said.

Regarding the current state of the councils, Collyer is positive, while Halpin is more realistic.

“I don’t really see anything majorly wrong with the way the council is going,” Collyer said. “We’re really effective in doing all the projects we set out to do, and we’ve been able to get our name out there more so the student body knows who student government is and what we can do for them.”

Halpin said there is always room for improvement and laid out three issues she will tackle as president: recruitment of council positions, improving SGA members’ knowledge of current university and state government issues, and encouraging more communication with the Modesto Maidique Campus.

Collyer, who is majoring in hospitality with a public relations minor, said just because he was in the cabinet and not the senate doesn’t automatically disqualify him from being a qualified candidate.

“I get my stuff done, and that’s the important thing: you have to be responsible. Because if you want to represent someone, how can you do something for someone else if you don’t do what’s good for you?” Collyer said. “I think I’m able to take on this position as vice president without sacrificing my academic achievements, or excellence, but also being able to better the Biscayne Bay Campus.”

Halpin agreed, and said Collyer at least has the perspective of being on council.

“I started from scratch and I’m not going to lie to you, it was a very difficult process,” she said.  “It was a little tricky because I didn’t really have proper training into my position, so I had to kind of figure it out.”

The two decided to run on a ballot together because they have always had a good working relationship, and Collyer said because their personalities balance each other out, they can be effective in power next year.

“She’s more calm, I’m more hyper. Moneywise, I’m very generous and she holds me back a little,” Collyer said.  “When it comes to ideas, I’m the one who is like ‘Woo!’ and throws stuff in the air, starts making the idea huge, and she’s the one who kind of brings it back to reality and grounds it into a firm idea.”

Halpin said she has full faith that Collyer will produce in the position, because along with doing a great job as director of lectures, he is a good person students respond well to.

“He’s a very quirky, like, goofy one at times, and I try to keep it professional a lot of the times, but outside of student government I’m pretty hyper,” Halpin said. “I’m just like anyone else, in all honesty, I really am. I’m just trying to make a difference for our students.”

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