Juniors Tyler Heffern and Cailyn Fiori were announced the winners of the Fairfield University Student Association presidential election on Tuesday, Feb. 23 during the FUSA Presidential Election Party Zoom. Heffern and Fiori will serve as the FUSA President and Vice President for the 2021-2022 academic year.
There were 1,158 total votes this year, and the Heffern-Fiori ticket clinched their victory with 678 votes. Richardson and Singh received 465 and the other 15 votes went to write-in candidates.
Current FUSA Vice President Tobenna Ugwu ‘22 commented on behalf of himself and current President Vincent Gadioma ‘22 with regards to the results and election as a whole.
“Vinny and I congratulate all the candidates and look forward to ensuring a smooth transition with the next president and vice president,” Ugwu said. “We also would like to congratulate the FUSA Court for doing a great job on putting together a successful, yet safe, election.”
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s election ran differently from previous ones.
FUSA chief justice and election commissioner Dan Messier ‘21 spoke upon the uniqueness of this election, stating that “candidates had to find different ways to campaign due to the pandemic. Usually, candidates do a ‘dorm storm’ the day the ballot opens, where they go through residence halls and talk to people about their platforms.”
Adjustments were made to typical election protocol in order to ensure the health and safety of the tickets and fellow Stags. On top of this, candidates still had to abide by Fairfield University’s COVID-19 Guidelines.
The 2021 FUSA Presidential Guidelines detailed the adjustments. These adjustments state that candidates must practice social distancing while campaigning, are prohibited from posting any physical campaign material on any surfaces on campus, that a candidate may not campaign in a residence hall that is not their own and distribution of any physical campaign material is prohibited.
President-Elect Heffern stated, “The adjustments to campaigning made during the pandemic were challenging, but we were grateful to have such strong support on social media.”
Messier also echoed the importance of social media during this year’s election.
“This year, they obviously could not do that, but I think the candidates have adjusted well to this new election climate, by relying more heavily on social media and other forms of virtual interaction,” Messier said. “I hope this experience will only make FUSA elections stronger in the future.”
“We are really proud of the work all four of us put into the election,” Heffern said.
During the Zoom, Fiori spoke directly to Richardson and Singh.
“To [Richardson] and [Singh], please don’t stop your work for the students and on FUSA,” Vice President-Elect Fiori said. “We could really use people like you. You guys are passionate, and that means a lot to me.”
The Mirror reached out to the Richardson-Singh campaign post-election. Richardson responded writing, “It’s been a difficult but highly rewarding process. I’ve learned so much over the past few weeks. I’m happy for Tyler and Cailyn and have the [utmost] confidence in their abilities. They ran an incredible campaign and have the qualifications to be successful. I wish them the best of luck and good I can support them in whatever capacity I can.”
The Heffern-Fiori campaign released a statement to The Mirror saying, “We are incredibly honored to have been given the opportunity to serve the student body as FUSA President and Vice President next year.”
They added that “it was a hard-fought campaign and we are very proud of our honest work and the work of [Richardson] and [Singh].”
They ended their statement with remarks about the future.
“Now that the election is over, we are ready to get to work to fight for the students. We are so grateful for their trust in us and we will not let them down. We do hope we can make them proud and serve them with integrity.”