Student Government SG Generic

In her Spanish class, Stefany Panunzio and her classmates often speak about poverty.

“I feel like there are a lot of students below the poverty line,” the 21-year-old UF nutritional science senior said. “The meal swipe program would really help them.“  

The program is one of Impact Party’s ten Fall platform points that released Thursday. The suggested program would provide free meals to food insecure students, according to a post the party shared on Facebook.

Inspire Party released its Fall platform Wednesday.

Both parties are competing for 50 Senate seats based on location. Voting for Student Government election will take place Sept. 25 and 26.

Inspire wants to advocate for changing parking decal restrictions — which the party has  included on its platform since its creation — creating an African American studies department and extending Uber Safe Rides, Inspire Party president Ashley Grabowski said.

The party’s members collected more than 500 student idea submissions, Grabowski said.

Grabowski said she wants to promote the party’s ideas of sexual-assault prevention and provide free sexually transmitted infections testing to students.

“It's really important for students to be safe on campus by making sure that they are taking care of their health and have the resources to do so,” Grabowski said.

Michael Abreu, a 21-year-old UF mechanical engineering senior, said he liked the Inspire Party’s idea of offering online voting for SG elections, a campaign idea which has been included for the past three elections.

Online voting has been debated many times in the SG Senate and has been put on the ballot before.

In 2008, the UF Supreme Court prohibited it because it would interfere with SG’s ability to prevent coercion. Then in 2016, Global Vote, a group of UF students who advocated for online voting, gained approval to put online voting on the Spring 2016 ballot after collecting more than 3,000 signatures. In February 2016, students voted to amend the SG constitution to include online voting with a 68 percent majority.

Later, a committee was formed to draft the codes for online voting but disbanded after the UF Supreme Court ruled that online voting and other amendments that passed since 2008 were unconstitutional.

“It’s making votes more straightforward and accessible and easier for students,” Abreu said.

Impact wants to incorporate technology in its platform by having football tickets delivered on cell phones, Impact Party spokesperson Brett Oehrle said.  

The party started thinking about the platform when conducting interviews with possible student candidates from Aug. 30 to Sept. 4, Oehrle said. On Wednesday night, party members spent hours sorting through about 1,000 student submissions before finalizing their ideas, he said.

Oehrle is excited about the party’s idea to ensure graduate students receive their financial aid money when their classes start, he said. This Fall, graduate students’ courses started before undergraduate courses, but aid for both groups was disbursed after the start of undergraduate classes.

“College has enough stressors, and we don’t need stress on top of academics, working, involvement and everything else that students have going on in their personal lives,” Oehrle said.

Contact Gillian Sweeney at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @gilliangsweeney

Gillian is a PR student and Staff Writer. She grew up a New York native and is now exploring the Sunshine State. If you have a story idea, email her at [email protected]