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Monday, April 15, 2024
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Four Vision Party candidates were elected to UF Student Senate leadership during a Tuesday night meeting.

Sen. John Brinkman (Vision-Off Campus) will be the next Senate president, and Sen. Saketh Damera (Vision-Public Health and Health Professions) will take Senate president pro-tempore. 

Sen. Maya Idiculla (Vision-Off Campus) and Sen. Laurel Wentworth (Vision-Off Campus) were also elected as two members-at-large.

During his speech, Brinkman addressed past criticisms regarding his guarded disposition and his failure to respond to emails. He extended his apologies and said he would “make more of an effort going forward.”

Brinkman’s proposals included extending Baby Gator hours, implementing a shuttle system for out-of-state students, creating a bike and scooter best practices video, taking a survey of students’ dining experiences and sending out a religions exam calendar.

In competition against Brinkman was Sen. Raj Mia (Change-Agricultural and Life Sciences), who proposed to reraise the Satellite Campus Affairs committee, create an ad-hoc Graduate Affairs committee and foster a community in the senate that encourages a bipartisan consensus.

Damera, the newly elected Senate president pro-tempore, spoke about setting up a senate alumni network, creating freshman engagement programs for student government and making a committee feedback form.

Sen. Simone Liang (Change-Liberal Arts and Sciences), who ran against Damera, hoped to enhance communication and collaboration amongst senators, increase the accessibility of student government outside of the hyper-partisan landscape and collaborate with the city of Gainesville.

For the members at large, Idiculla was opposing Sen. Asif Islam (Change-Liberal Arts and Sciences), and Wentworth was opposing Sen. Arturo Zárrate (Change-Lakeside Complex).

Idiculla proposed to improve the Replacement & Agenda interview process by remaining fair and evaluating interviews based off of applications and interviews. She also emphasized how important assisting others is to her.

“I want to be a resource to individuals,” Idiculla said. “I want them to come talk to me, I want them to ask me advice. And this is going to both sides of the aisle.”

Having been a Change party member before switching over to Vision, Wentworth said she hopes to promote bipartisanship, increase the amount of legislation the senate is producing as a whole and participate in respectful debates to create positive change for the student body.

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Senate will meet again Jan. 16 at 7:30 p.m. in the Senate chambers, found on the ground floor of the Reitz Union. Meetings are open to the public.


Contact Annie Wang at awang@alligator.org. Follow her on X @wynwg.

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Annie Wang

Annie Wang is a first-year journalism major and a University General Assignment writer for The Alligator. In her free time, she enjoys reading and writing reviews on Goodreads.


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