In a week, students at Fairfield will vote for their new Fairfield University Student Association president and vice president. In preparation for this election, FUSA held a meet the candidates event on Feb. 21.
This year, the candidate for president is Cara Gibbons ‘18 and the candidate for vice president is Molly Strang ‘18. Currently, Gibbons is speaker of the senate and Strang serves as director of the programming board for FUSA. They are running unopposed for the upcoming election.
Initially, it was rumored that Závon Billups ‘18 would be running for president as well, with running mate Jack Daniels ‘18. However, according to Billups, the pair did not turn in the form with 200 signatures from the student body which is required of anyone who wants to be considered a candidate for FUSA president.
Billups added that many had assumed that he would run for FUSA president since he came in second place in last year’s FUSA presidential race and served as president of the Class of 2018. Billups noted however that despite others feeling that “it was essentially the next step for me, [it was not] my next step.”
“As an aspiring politician, it is time to put more into the path that was chosen for me and take what I’ve learned in order to serve on the scale in which I was meant,” said Billups.
Freshman Taevon Walker commented on Billups’ decision not to run for FUSA president. “He would have made an excellent president,” said Taevon Walker ‘20. “His persona, everything he stands for the people he associates himself with he would have made a perfect candidate for that. But at the same time, he felt like he wasn’t ready for that, so it’s just not him if he doesn’t feel that.”
Gibbons and Strang spoke to a small group of approximately 10 students at the event.
Many students feel that the low attendance may have been caused by a lack of marketing for the event.
“I feel like they didn’t do a good job marketing it because I didn’t know about the event before it happened,” said Jill Stifano ‘19. “I don’t know if an email was sent out, but if it was I missed it and I didn’t see any signs up around campus.”
In addition to this, there was nothing posted on the Orgsync calendar.
Strang spoke of the effectiveness of speaking to the student body prior to the election. “I think just showing our faces is beneficial to our campaign,” Strang said.
Sophomore Annie McBride agreed with this sentiment.
“I feel like it raises awareness,” said McBride. “Knowing your candidates is always good because you know who you have to choose from and who would be the best to choose from for FUSA president and vice president.”
Gibbons explained why she and Strang were so well-suited for the positions of president and vice president.
“Being on the FUSA executive cabinet gives us the inside scoop on how FUSA functions, which will help us run it,” Gibbons said.
“Faculty and staff are reaching out to us and we want to continue to build that relationship,” Gibbons continued.
Gibbons and Strang emphasized some of the changes they will attempt to make, such as selling contraceptives on campus, a textbook exchange program that is currently underway and having a campus community of friendship.
“We want to build a community where everyone smiles at each other and is able to approach Molly and me with questions or suggestions,” said Gibbons. “We want to be a source of knowledge and entertainment.”
Gibbons and Strang also want to centralize different parts of campus, such as Campus Ministry and Counseling & Psychological Services.
When asked how she would make time for the presidency, Gibbons explained that she has rearranged her schedule in preparation for the role.
“When you love what you do, you make it a priority,” she said.