With each day of the spring 2014 semester, Fairfield University Student Association President Alex Long’s ‘14 term begins to wind down. Students will once again see posters and events held by possible successors throughout the Barone Campus Center and around campus.

A year ago, students saw Long and his then opposition Sam Maxfield ‘14 compete for their votes with two very different strategies.

While Maxfield ran on his established political career at FUSA, Long countered with his diverse involvement in many student organizations and ran as a candidate of the people. This was never more evident than at the FUSA presidential debate and during his last minute campaigning on election day.

Conversations with students during exit polls suggested the more well-known candidate would win the presidency, a prophecy which was fulfilled later that evening.

Long’s victory shows the most effective path to claiming the most respected position in the FUSA governing body is by ensuring that voters know who you are and what you stand for.

On Tuesday, Feb. 11 three students, two of whom are currently involved in high positions at FUSA, presented themselves to the Fairfield community for the first time as presidential candidates. For those who were unable to attend, these are your 2014 candidates:

THE WILD CARDprez3

Junior Mariano Portocarrero will be the first to tell you about his questionable decisions and actions as an underclassman.

“I was, you know, doing a lot of partying, doing a lot of drinking, spending a lot of time [in the dean of students’ office],” said Portocarrero.

A self-proclaimed former introvert, Portocarrero realized early on that he was “letting other people define him,” and that he needed to make a change, and a drastic one at that.

“I asked myself, what could I do if I wasn’t afraid?  And the answer is, you can do a lot,” Portocarrero said.

With the motivation he gained from his roommate at the time, who was making a dramatic physical change of his own, Portocarrero decided it was time that he took charge of his life and stopped heading down this “path I didn’t want to be heading down.

I realized I was letting my circumstances and surroundings define who I was, and that’s not what I wanted. I wanted to define my own circumstances,” said Portocarrero.

The finance major and economics minor believes Fairfield’s community is one of change and growth.  Despite campaigning without a running mate, Portocarrero hopes to unlock the “untapped potential of the student body.”

“[Alex] Long ran on the idea of building a team. I think that was a great idea, and now I want to focus on building a community,” Portocarrero said.

While Portocarrero may not have the same type of experience as his opponents in FUSA’s Executive Council, he is confident in his mission and ability.

“I’m just like you. … The reason why I’m here is because of the incredible support I have from my friends, from family, and I’m just taking risks,” said Portocarrero, “In the end, I’m looking to inspire people.”

prez1THE ACHIEVER

As Lindsey Hanley ’15 walks through the Barone Campus Center one thing is for certain, her presence.  With each passerby, the current FUSA Chair of Programming gives a smile, a wave and a kind “hello.”

However, not many students know about the woman who began with a minor role in FUSA’s SWAT team and exceeded her own expectations in reaching her senior year goal 12 months early.

“I give it my all in everything I do,” said Hanley, whose most well-known accomplishment was landing Bingo Players for the 2013 fall concert.

For those who have never met the FUSA chair of programming, Hanley’s workload may seem almost unmanageable.  Aside from serving on the executive council, the Running Club, Pencil Pals, living in a sophomore residential college and serving on the Senior Week committee last year are among some of Hanley’s many extracurriculars.

“I was also asked to be editor-in-chief of the yearbook this year, but had to turn it down do to other commitments,” said Hanley.

Although Hanley said she believes this election “is not about sex,” students would be hard-pressed to ignore the fact that Hanley would be Fairfield first female student body president in almost 10 years.  In fact, a victory by Hanley and her running mate Janice Herbert ’15, would propel her into an exclusive club that has only seen two prior members: Dean of Students Karen Donoghue ’03 and Jessica DiBuono ’06.

Nevertheless, as a presidential candidate, Hanley is comparable to both Maxfield and Long, who competed for the presidency a year ago.

“Honestly I think I fall in the middle,” said Hanley, “I have [FUSA] experience, but also because of all the organizations I’m involved with on campus … people generally recognize me, so I think I’m both,” in speaking on last year’s candidates.

For Hanley, running for president is the next step: “I want to be someone who’s approachable to students, but at the same time can have a relationship with the administration.”

THE VETERANprez2

Just a year ago, the vice presidency wasn’t even a thought in Alex Cucchi’s ’15 mind.  However, on Tuesday night, Cucchi presented himself as a student transformed by his leadership position, a student who oozes professionalism.

“It’s been good, it has definitely been a different experience for me,” said Cucchi.

While Cucchi’s term as VP has been his only time serving on the FUSA Executive Council, the English major is anything but a rookie when it comes to leadership positions.  In fact, Cucchi described himself as a student who has always been involved with student government, even in high school.

“I love working with people,” said Cucchi, “I always have.”

Reflecting on his years as an undergrad, Cucchi described a personality test he took that he believes can accurately describe how his past has shaped who he has become as a leader.  “My number one was positivity and my number two was … winning others over,” said Cucchi.

The resolve, which Cucchi said he believes so accurately describes his past, is rooted deep in his relationship with his autistic brother, Thomas, whom he believes has taught him some of the most valuable lessons he has learned.

Those who have spent time with Cucchi will tell you it’s not just his positivity that makes him a great leader.  Cucchi pointed to an American Literature course he took with Dr. Edrik Lopez that allowed him to become the communicator he is today.

“He’s one of those English professors who just allows you to be open, to say what’s on your mind,” said Cucchi, something that has transferred to the way he conducts himself in executive council meetings. “I think sometimes people try to be too professional with what they have to say when sometimes you just have to say it … or nothing gets done.”

Cucchi, who will be campaigning with running mate Anif McDonald ’16, stressed that despite being Vice President, he is still a student “who is having the same problems.”

According to Cucchi, Fairfield is right on the cusp of “being in the same category as the BCs and the Fordhams.”

Cucchi said, “I really really love Fairfield. … I’m your average student who will pursue things you want. I want what’s best for us.”

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