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Friday, May 24, 2024

Competing alone in the fall Student Government election against well-organized political parties with thousands of dollars in funding might seem like a daunting task.

But Marcus Dixon said he feels confident about his chances.

Dixon is a 19-year-old UF freshman and an independent candidate running for the Beaty Towers seat in the Student Senate.

He said the choice to run independently was not so he could show opposition to the parties.

"I kind of did it to challenge myself," Dixon said. "Pretty much all of us are going toward the same goal of a better university."

With the help of several friends and the advantage of only focusing his campaign on Beaty, he said competing independently is feasible.

Dixon said he decided to become involved with SG while visiting UF this summer with the Outstanding High School Scholars Program. Running for Senate is just one step in his final goal of becoming Florida's governor, he added.

Dixon was quick to add that serving as a senator was not just a way to pad his résumé.

He said his platform, which he created by asking students in Beaty what they wanted, would "create a better university."

"I sat back and listened before I made any decisions," Dixon said. "If you ask, you can make more people happy."

One goal is improving crowded conditions on RTS buses, though Dixon did not offer any specifics.

Others include adding more wireless access points around campus and linking students' Gator 1 cards to their 250 pages of free printing that is provided by SG each semester.

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Students would not have to wait in long lines at SG's printing lab in the Reitz Union if they could use their Gator 1 to access free printing in libraries, he said.

Though he is only a freshman, Dixon said he has the necessary experience to represent students.

In high school, Dixon said he served as state chairman of the Youth Advisory Council in the State of Florida Association Police Athletic/Activities League, a program designed to prevent youth crime.

Dixon participated in Harvard University's Model Congress in Boston and graduated high school with about 1,400 hours of community service.

Dixon is also an aspiring motivational speaker and has spoken to various youth groups on four or five occasions. One topic he speaks on is "choices and consequences," which he said would guide him in looking carefully at the effects of Senate legislation before making any decisions.

According to his Web site, the other topic is "The Keys to Life Success."

Dixon said he wanted to pursue speaking after hearing many motivational speakers through high school activities and being touched by what they said.

"It's kind of like being a teacher but definitely seeing the results faster," Dixon said. "It's another avenue to continue my love for helping people."

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