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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

University of Florida's Students Party vice presidential candidate Jesse Schmitt deserves vote

In my four years here at UF, I've gotten to see a lot of Student Government candidates come and go. The ritual is always the same. Some iteration of a Greek-backed party runs against an eclectic group of students seeking to break "the system" and the way certain organizations dominate student politics.

Though SG elections are annoying and usually pointless, Alex Cornillie and Jesse Schmitt, this year's candidates for Student Body president and vice president for the Students Party, have the best chance to win in the four years I've been here.

Both the executive tickets for the Unite and Students parties have student leaders who have achieved a lot, but I have to single out Jesse Schmitt, who represents the best candidate for Student Body VP in at least a decade, and I've known several of them personally.

Jesse founded Gators Humans vs Zombies, which grew until there were so many walking undead on campus that I feared for my safety. It even led to the administration writing a disaster preparedness plan for what to do in case of a zombie attack.

Schmitt is also a part of the Platoon Leaders Course and plans to join the armed forces after graduation as an officer in the Marine Corps. If that's not enough for you, he stuffs backpacks with food to feed homeless children in Gainesville through a charity he runs.

Most people would rest on their laurels after achieving at that level. Not Jesse. He decided he had too much free time and tried out for the UF football team and got picked up as scout team running back.

He sacrifices his body so that Sharrif Floyd and Dominique Easley can have some practice destroying somebody for the good of our university. He never quits, and he has more energy than anyone I've ever seen, as evidenced when he beat Chris Rainey at the push-up contest this summer with a count of more than 200.

The only experience I've had with any of the other candidates for SG is Unite Party presidential candidate Tj Villamil. Though I've been impressed with his commendable efforts to raise money for nonprofits, I've been frustrated in my limited dealings with him while he served as SG treasurer for the past year.

I wanted to talk with Tj about a huge cut in food money that he proposed for all student organizations. Unfortunately, his staff told me he did not show up for appointments and I would probably have no luck getting in touch with him.

I had no problem meeting with the prior Student Body treasurer, and I was frustrated at Tj's lack of availability to talk with his constituents.

Though the winning ticket for this SG election won't affect me much, I would be ecstatic if I could graduate knowing that our Student Body is being led by dynamic leaders who have a passion for people, The Gator Nation and student life in general.

You should vote for people you know will do a good job. With Jesse Schmitt, UF would finally be getting a leader it deserves. I can't wait to see what he will do for the good of the university if you give him a chance as Student Body vice president.

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This time, your vote really does matter. You're not just throwing it away as usual in SG elections. The Students Party ticket has a legitimate shot at winning, and you can make that happen.

Go vote Feb. 21 and 22 for the zombie-killing Marine and football player Jesse Schmitt as your Student Body vice president.

Travis Hornsby is a statistics and economics senior at UF. His column appears on Mondays.

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