Sophomores Vincent Gadioma and Tobenna Ugwu were announced the winners of the Fairfield University Student Association presidential election on Tuesday, Feb. 25 at the Levee. The two will serve as the FUSA President and Vice President for the academic year of 2020-21. Their ticket consisted of the first non-white President and Vice Presidential candidates to ever win the positions in Fairfield’s history.
Numerous students gathered at the Levee alongside the six candidates to learn who their future leaders will be. Even after the results were announced, students gathered around to discuss the results over pizza, as well as offer congratulations and words of encouragement to the winning ticket and the other candidates as well.
“I was very surprised, I won’t tell a lie,” said Ugwu. “All of the candidates, as I said earlier, are all very great. It could have been anybody’s game.”
Out of a total of 1,979 votes, Gadioma and Ugwu defeated their opponents with a total of 817 votes. Juniors Guerrera and Haidar secured 623 votes and the Crosby ‘21 Miceli-Kaya ‘21 ticket received 507 votes.
All of the candidates were nervous about the results, but were proud of the work they put into the campaign, as well as the work of every other ticket. Before the election results were announced, the candidates spoke to their experience campaigning and the hard work and dedication that the process requires.
“We’re elected for a purpose; we’re elected for the people,” Crosby said. “So, regardless of the results tonight, all the candidates, including my ticket, should hold their heads up high and support the person who does win.”
Miceli-Kaya added, “We’ve all worked extremely hard, every single candidate here has gone above and beyond and we all want it so bad. So, whoever gets it deserved it.”
Guerrera, the current FUSA Vice President, also expressed her admiration for the efforts that every person had put into the campaign.
“[The other tickets] definitely made us work harder and push ourselves harder,” said Guerrera. “I think we all should leave feeling really proud of ourselves, despite the results that come out tonight.”
“Up there listening to the results, I was physically trembling,” said Ugwu. “I’m so grateful to everyone who voted for us and I am excited to take the position and serve the student body, which I am very passionate about.”
The passion for on-campus politics did not exist only in the candidates. The 1,979 total votes in this election was, according to the Speaker of the FUSA Senate, Tyler Heffern ‘22, a 10 percent increase from last year’s election.
Some of the candidates spoke about their six day campaigning experience. The most votes, 1,125, were cast on the first night, Thursday, Feb. 20, but there was a pickup in the last three days with roughly 100 votes each day. Those extra days, and the candidates’ campaigning effort during them, certainly had the possibility of influencing the outcome.
“This election has actually been really fun, kind of stressful, but I wouldn’t change what has happened or what will happen,” Crosby said before the results were announced.
Haidar said that, “It was good to have a good, healthy, competitive race and we’re excited to continue the change that we’re done for the last few years. The election was good, we met a lot of cool people.”
The results indicate that the candidates communicated with students beyond those who are their classmates, roommates or close friends. First-year students accounted for the most number of votes, coming in with 693 voters.
Gadioma and Ugwu are looking forward to their chance to serve all students here at Fairfield University to the best of their abilities.
“I’m really grateful for the opportunity to serve the students,” said Gadioma.
“I think all the candidates did really well, especially Sean and Noelle,” Gadioma expressed. “They had really great platforms and I’m really thankful to both of them for being not even just fellow running mates, but true leaders.”
“I hope to follow in their footsteps, and that we [Gadioma and Ugwu] do just as good a job as them, if not better.”