The 2023 SGA Elections: Make your voice heard

This year's voting campaign | Dioslyn Oliva, PantherNOW

Dioslyn Oliva and Alba Rosa | PantherNOW Staff

The student government elections are here. With dozens of candidates and a variety of platforms, it’s been an interesting season. 

But in recent years, less than 5% of students have voted in these elections. Considering the lack of student involvement, these numbers make sense: this is a reminder that voting is imperative, as we have the power to positively influence the outcome of these elections.

This year, students have options for candidates. Outside of drama involving these elections, the assortment of candidates this year is refreshing – it’s nice to see these candidates focus on specific things that interest the FIU community. 

Facing off for the position of esteemed president of SGA are Alex Sutton of The Future is You party, Zachary Stangl of the Gold and Blue party and, lastly, College of Arts, Science and Education Senator Delano Cicconi

However, the history of student politics at FIU should remind students that voting is crucial. 

Of the most infamous actions from SGA in recent years is the renovation of the game room at the Graham Center in the Modesto Maidique Campus. The game room originally allocated $660,000 through the use of an executive order by the SGA president at the time, Alexander Rubido.

The funds for this project were from a reserve account of unspent student activity and service fees that could’ve funded other more important projects on campus. Apart from this, the project continued getting pushed back, and through his insistence, the project in its entirety received $1.2 million in funding, the majority from student fees. 

It’s also important to acknowledge that he ran unopposed and received 669 votes. During this election cycle of 2020-2021, less than 1000 students voted in this category and there were over 50,000 students eligible to vote. 

Running the numbers, this individual received less than 1% of the student vote and was able to control hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

It’s clear: student participation is crucial to the uninhibited work of democracy at FIU. 

Besides situations like these, SGA in this current legislative session has also spent time addressing constitutional amendments as well as less important SGA functionalities, instead of working towards fixing continuous issues. 

Last year, members of this current SGA were also elected on low voter turnout. The current SGA president Cristhofer Lugo also ran unopposed. He received 963 votes. Last election cycle, 56,732 students were eligible to vote and not even a tenth of the population participated. 

With more candidates this year, voting means even more and students have a lot more opportunity. 

Each officially announced their candidacy just before debates on Feb. 16 and on Instagram, all proposing monumental changes toward turning FIU into a community. 

Sutton has done a good job interacting with the student body, making essential efforts to prove his competence as potential SGA president with his platform that advocates for Greek life on campus, pushes for improvement in advising for students and bringing nap pods to the library. 

Stangl’s platform would include prioritizing student engagement, health and well-being and creating profitable professional development so students can comfortably transition to the workforce upon graduating college. Although great, the way he became a candidate will always remain concerning.

But Cicconi was somewhat of a vague platform; all students really know of his candidacy is that he strives to fix SGA.

It should be noted that, as of now, they’ve concentrated their efforts at MMC, somewhat neglecting students of Biscayne Bay Campus, I-75 or FIU’s smaller campuses in Wynwood and Brickell.

And no matter what candidates do or promise, though, students’ involvement in politics is crucial. When politicians act outside the view of their constituents, abuse of power becomes all the more likely.

Apart from voting for the executive positions of president and vice president, students also vote for senators, who are part of the legislative branch and represent the specific colleges as well as other units like housing. 

They’re our direct representatives and are allowed to initiate legislation for their electorate as well as other students, along with tasks like allocating money to student organizations annually.

Apart from this, they’re also given the task of addressing our concerns as students, establishing student programs and services, and being our voice in the Board of Trustees. 

FIU currently has enormous issues that need to be addressed appropriately; For example, the lack of on-campus student housing for next year. As students, we play an important part in what issues are given the proper attention.

Students need to vote. We have so much power in the process and have authority to decide who we want to be our voices. Vote on March 7 and 8 to set the stage for next year. 


The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of the PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

Be the first to comment on "The 2023 SGA Elections: Make your voice heard"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.