Zachariah Chou wants to exchange his likes on Swampy UF memes for top ten public teens for votes this Spring.
At 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, the UF Inspire Party announced its executive ticket with Chou, 21, for Student Body president; Gouthami Gadamsetty, 20, for Student Body vice president; and Mackintosh Joachim, 19, for Student Body treasurer, according to the party’s Facebook page.
Impact Party has not yet announced its ticket.
Chou, a UF political science and journalism junior, said he has served in the UF Student Senate for three years as the Infinity senator and later as the Murphree Hall senator.
Posting original memes on Swampy Memes, a student-run Facebook meme group, has helped Chou make Student Government issues become more relatable to the average student, he said. It’s important to produce content that students can relate to because it helps them realize that SG is there to serve them.
“It’s not some abstract office on the third floor of the Reitz [Union],” Chou said. “It’s something that influences everyone’s life in a way that you can feel and experience and understand.”
Experiences within SG and as the treasurer for Murphree Area have taught Chou to listen to those he serves, he said. He said he’s put that into action from the small things like replacing peanut butter for sunflower butter on PB&Js during a Murphree Area event to the big things like installing street lights to increase visibility outside Infinity Hall during the Summer.
“I really want to reach out to all corners of campus and talk to the people who aren’t usually talked to,” Chou said. “It’s not about what’s convenient, but it’s really about reaching every Gator.”
Joachim said his phone blew up with texts Wednesday afternoon following the announcement.
Joachim, a UF finance and women’s studies sophomore, said friends and family were surprised to hear he was on the executive ticket because he previously told them he did not want to run this year. He said the volume of people who said he should run eventually convinced him.
“I’ve sacrificed my time and even my education to get stuff done for students overall,” Joachim said.
Joachim said his experience as the treasurer for the UF chapter of the NAACP has prepared him for this role, although he has not served on the Allocations nor Budget and Appropriations committees. These committees handles finances for Student Government.
“Even though I’m young, people should trust me enough to lead them,” Joachim said.
Gadamsetty, a UF industrial and systems engineering junior, has never been a senator, but she said her time as the president of the Engineering Leadership Circle, a member of the Involvement Team, which offers consultations to students interested in organizations on campus, and the Indian Student Association has prepared her for the executive ticket.
She has ran three times for a Senate seat in previous elections but lost each race, Gadamsetty said.
She said being the vice president is about making the quality of students’ lives better, which she can uphold with her leadership experience.
“I think the idea of helping students find their place is an important position to hold,” Gadamsetty said.
Gadamsetty said Inspire Party is going to stand for transparency and accountability to make sure the student body is represented fairly.
“We’re putting everything we have into it,” she said.