Karen Caudillo and Theressa Tong are the final candidate additions to the UCF SGA presidential race and will be the first female duo to take the presidency if they win.
Caudillo, who is running for president, is a senator for the College of Sciences and the vice chair of the Student Body Advocacy Committee. She is a junior studying political science with a track in international relations.
“I’m running because I just genuinely care about this school,” she said. “This has been my dream school since my sophomore year of high school.”
Tong, 20, is running for vice president and is the Deputy Pro Tempore of Legislative Affairs. Tong is a junior interdisciplinary studies major with tracks in biology life sciences and public affairs and a minor in health sciences.
There have been female SGA presidents and vice presidents, but there has not to date been an all-female ticket elected, Director of the Office of Student Involvement Shane Juntunen said.
Their campaign platform focuses on issues such as sustainability and creating resources for first-generation students and victims of sexual misconduct, Caudillo, 22, said.
In light of the rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program, Caudillo said she also wants to make sure DACA recipients are supported by the university once the program expires in October.
“If nobody has a seat at the table, nothing will get done,” Caudillo, who is also a DACA recipient, said.
Caudillo said she wants to see more solar panels on campus and increase the number of Fleet Farming garden beds to promote urban agriculture at UCF.
Caudillo, a first-generation college student, said she hopes to help other first-generation students access information easier. She said she wants to add a section on My.UCF for first-generation students or general resources that help navigate complicated procedures and forms.
“A lot of us don’t come in knowing how to fill out a FAFSA or how to read a degree audit,” she said.
The duo wants to work more with Green DOT UCF, a bystander intervention initiative, and help people directly affected by sexual misconduct by offering resources such as more self-defense classes, Caudillo said.
She said she hopes to “make UCF more welcoming and safe for women and men.”
Their slogan, ”IgKnight Your Possibilities,” stems from their background as minority women of color, Caudillo said. Tong is Vietnamese-American and Caudillo is Mexican-American.
“We really want other people to realize the possibilities are out there, and we want to ignite in any way we can,” Caudillo said.
Tong said she is excited for the campaign but balancing classes and the campaign can be overwhelming.
Caudillo and Tong placed an emphasis on caring for the student body and acting in its best interest.
“We want to try to let students know that they have a voice on this campus and there are people who care about them,” Tong said.
The two are planning to have their campaign website up and running this weekend and other campaign materials such as signage ready in the near future, Caudillo said.
“We want to be like nothing that UCF has ever seen,” Caudillo said.