Adrian Suarez Avila/ News Director
The student body at the University’s Modesto A. Maidique Campus has re-elected Alexis Calatayud and Tiffany Roman Biffa as the president and vice president of the Student Government Association.
The announcement, which took place in the Graham Center Panther Pit on Thursday, April 2, marked the first time since 2000 that the current president and vice president ran for re-election.
Calatayud and Roman Biffa were chosen over their opponents, Stefan Bahad and Kristen Nyman, both members of the FIUnite party.
While Calatayud and Roman Biffa received 51.46 percent of the total votes, Bahad and Nyman received the remaining 48.54 percent.
Despite the fact that voting procedures took place on both March 31 and April 1 through electronic voting methods, electronic voting was not the only method available to cast votes.
Paper ballots were also submitted.
According to Michelle Castro, assistant director of Campus Life at the MMC and Student Government Association advisor, 25 paper ballots were submitted for Stefan Bahad and Kristen Nyman, and 26 for Calatayud and Roman Biffa.
Taking into account the paper ballots, the total amount of votes for Calatayud and Roman Biffa were 1,949, and 1,839 for Bahad and Nyman.
“I’m extremely grateful, extremely proud of our FIU student body for coming out as they did and [having] a record turnout [for this] election,” said Roman Biffa.
She added that she was excited to continue working for the University, and humbled to be able to continue to a second administration, considering that students trusted her and Calatayud enough to allow them a second term.
For Roman Biffa, she and her fellow members of SGA need to find new innovative ways to reach out to students and engage them, especially professional and graduate students, who she mentioned had no knowledge that she and Calatayud also represent their needs.
Calatayud was equally excited.
“I can’t believe it,” she said. “I’m so happy that I get to help people for another year, that I get to help make a difference in this university, that people saw that I wanted to do that and voted for me–that’s beautiful.”
Acknowledging the challenges of her next administration, Calatayud believes that self-expectations of improvement is a major one to face.
She admitted that this present administration could be considered a practice run, and that the next one will provide an opportunity to perfect what is currently being done.
Bahad and Nyman could not be reached by press time.
In addition to the presidential and vice presidential winners being announced, members of the Senate were also declared.
According to Vice President of Student Affairs Larry Lunsford, who made the announcement, certain Senate seats for the College of Architecture and the Arts, nursing and health sciences, graduate senator, education senator, and public health and social work are vacant.
Once the applications for the seats are made available, students interested will be able to apply.
Although last year a total of 2,354 votes were administered by students for either Calatayud and Roman Biffa and Philip Koenig and Adriana McLamb, this year’s elections saw an increase in voter turnout.
When voters took to the polls this year 3,788 votes were made.
Despite the increase, the turnout is low, considering that the University boasts a population of over 54,000 students.
Calatayud and Roman Biffa admitted that this is a problem for SGA in general, considering the fact that since so much work within the organization is done behind the scenes, students don’t always know what’s taking place and don’t take an active role in trying to find out how to be involved with initiatives led by SGA.
Calatayud and Roman-Biffa will commence their next administration in early May.