An hour before the end of the Student Government interviews, where parties select senate candidates, Livia Ledbetter got lost.
Ledbetter, 20, followed signs advertising the interviews on the third floor of the Reitz Union only to discover interviews were actually being held on the floor below in the Student Activities and Involvement Office.
“I saw a line that was wrapped around, and I saw that there was people dressed in professional attire,” said the UF sociology and women’s studies junior, who slated with Inspire Party. “It was really confusing because it said the third floor but it was actually on the second floor.”
Supervisor of Elections Erica Baker wrote in an email that this was the first complaint she heard about students getting lost.
“Originally we had the signs say to go to the SG Office because most students do not know where to go when you tell them to go to the SAI portal,” she said. “We have people in the SG office to point to where we are and we have a banner as to where we are.”
This year, 302 students interviewed with parties in hopes of gaining a Senate candidacy position with one of three Student Government parties. SG elections, which will be held on Feb. 20 and 21, from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., will allow students to elect senators for 50 seats, representing the colleges, as well as freshmen and sophomores.
In the three days of interviewing, a total of 136 candidates registered with Inspire Party, 129 with Impact Party, 27 students with Challenge Party, eight as undecided and two as independent, Baker said.
On the first day, only 41 students registered. The number more than doubled on Monday, with 86 students registering. On the final day, which was Tuesday, 175 registered.
In Fall 2017, 223 students interviewed with the two parties — Impact and Inspire — and in Spring 2017, 197 interviewed with one party — Impact, according to Alligator archives. Though most interviewed with parties, some registered independent each semester.
Amy Emerson, 22, who interviewed with Challenge after recently learning about it, said she now feels like she has the confidence to step up and be a leader for the student body.
“I think it’s important for everyone’s voice to be heard and for everyone to feel like they’ve been heard,” the UF biomedical engineering senior said.
Avichaim Snyder, an Impact senator in Spring and Fall 2017, interviewed with the party again for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences seat.
The UF anthropology junior said he stands for what Impact believes in.
“I think these are students that 100 percent care about what they want to do,” the 21-year-old said.
Snyder said he wants to publicize different resolutions and bills that are passed in the Senate and share what campus organizations are doing.
“I think there are a lot of things that Student Government and different organizations at the school does well, but doesn’t really get broadcasted out to the Student Body,” he said.
Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that Erica Baker didn’t say the Elections Commission originally placed the signs indicating students to go to the SG Office. It has also been updated to reflect that Ledbetter is a sociology and women's study junior, not a biology and sociology junior.