The 2019 joint elections for the Undergraduate Student Government closed Thursday at noon. Several USG election candidates for president and vice president recounted their time on the campaign trail as they wait for the results to come in.
Presidential candidate Priyanka Thakkar, a fourth-semester management information systems major, shared her experience while running with vice presidential candidate, Manny Chinyumba, a sixth-semester political science and real estate double major.
“Running for the presidential election, has been an amazing experience,” Thakkar said. “Both Manny and I have gotten to meet so many incredible students who have given us unlimited support. We are so thankful for our community.”
Thakkar said she was most excited to share the ideas she and Chinyumba came up with for their campaign.
“This is no longer just Priyanka and Manny, but an entire movement to see where problems are and where we can make progress,” Thakkar said. “Whether that is running for office, getting involved, or simply voting, this is UConn, pursuing change, together. And this is what we wanted.”
Chinyumba said what he has learned most from the campaign is to believe in himself.
“I struggle with believing in myself…there will be times where I undermine my own skills and thoughts, but I learned to take a step back and figure out the right things to say,” Chinyumba said.
Chinyumba said he was most excited to see students vote and voice their opinion.
“With any election, the toughest thing is to getting people excited and having them follow through with voting, so it was really exciting to see the overwhelming support that we got with this election,” Chinyumba said. “It really motivated us, even though we’re going through stressful times, everyone just reminded us why we were doing this and that really pushed us the last few days.”
Fabio Saccomanno, another presidential candidate and fourth-semester molecular and cell biology major, also reflected on his time running this semester.
“I have been very confident throughout because I feel I’m the outsider candidate, so I’m easy to relate to,” Saccomanno said, “But it also has been stressful because this is something I’m not used to doing. It’s a very new experience for me.”
Saccomanno said sharing the load that came with the campaign was challenging.
“I’ve had to hand off a lot of things to my friends that helped like my campaign manager and I am someone who likes to see things done myself, so to hand everything off and having to sit back with something was a little stressful,” Saccomanno said, “But it was a learning experience for me too, especially if I become elected, not everything can be done myself and I know that.”
The most exciting part of the campaign trail for Saccomanno was the debate, but it did not get the publicity he had hoped, he said.
“The most exciting part by far was the debate, and I wish students paid attention to the debate more,” Saccomanno said. “I don’t think the debate was publicized enough and the place it was held was not large enough for students that wanted to attend. I feel that if students watched the debate it would really give them an educated vote.”
Saccomanno put emphasized his desire to break the status quo in his campaign, he said.
“The reason why I ran is because I just see this status quo in USG that few people are willing to challenge, and I am one of those challengers,” Saccomanno said.
Talha Bhatti, vice presidential candidate with Saccomanno and fourth-semester chemical engineering major, said he enjoyed interacting with students most during his time running with Saccomanno.
“It was a lot of fun meeting new people and going around talking to different people,” Bhatti said. “Sometimes people don’t want to talk so that would make it challenging but it was fun getting out names out there.”
The third team of candidates, Dylan DeMoura and Matthew Zancewicz, were contacted for comment but did not respond.
Brittany Jimena, a second-semester biology major, said she voted yesterday just before noon.
“I was really last minute with voting, but I’m glad I took a moment to do so,” Jimena said. “I think it’s really important for all students to vote because the USG board and the decisions they make have an effect on student life, so people should make sure someone they trust to do good for the student body is in power.”
Naiela Suleiman is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.