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SG President-Elect and Vice President-Elect Make Plans for Their Upcoming Term

Jessica Piland

On Feb. 29, student government members, candidates and other FGCU students gathered at The Boardwalk in North Lake Village to hear the announcement of the 2024/25 SG President and Vice President election winners. 

SG President-Elect Ryan Kaczynski, a sophomore accounting major with a political science minor, and SG Vice President-Elect Jackson Chumbley, a sophomore economics major, won the election and will begin their terms on April 1. 

In conjunction with Eagle Media, SG held a town hall-style debate for candidates on Feb. 22. Voting opened for any degree-focused student on Feb. 27 starting at 8 a.m. and closed Feb. 29 at 5 p.m.

Kaczynski and Chumbley were both senators representing the Lutgert College of Business during the 2023/24 school year, and they both served on the Appropriations Committee. 

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“I’ve served in Senate for about a year now,” Chumbley said. “I’ve also served on the Appropriations Committee, which is the most important committee in student government.”

Kaczynski said he was not expecting to win and was shocked when he heard he and Chumbley’s name called on Feb. 29.

“I did not think I was going to [win],” he said. “Like a couple days leading up to it I’m like, ‘This isn’t looking great.’ I just had that gut feeling. I was like, ‘You know what? I tried. There’s always next year if I do lose.’”

Although he wasn’t expecting a win this year, Kaczynski has been planning to run for Student Body President since he was touring FGCU and listened to a panel that former SG president Grace Brannigan was on. He said he talked to Brannigan after the panel about student government and was inspired. This was one of the reasons he chose to attend FGCU. 

“So originally, when I got here, I applied to be a justice,” he said. “And Grace was on her way out, so she wasn’t appointing anymore. And then I think my application kind of just got lost. So I ended up running for Senator last year, and I won for the Lutgert College of Business. And then I did that for the year, I did the Appropriations Committee, and seeing the way that student government was working and stuff, I just thought that I can make some good changes.”

As the SG Vice President-Elect, Chumbley hopes to see an increase in internal communication. He said he has seen a communication gap not only in between branches, but between positions as well.

“I’ve seen flaws with [interior] leadership on all levels, to be honest,” he said. “I think it’s just [that] people aren’t being directed in the right areas, and, you know, I’m tired of waiting for someone to do the job that I want to see done. So, you know, I feel I had the leadership experience to take the wheel and try and steer the ship in the way I want to see it run. So that’s initially why I wanted to run.”

Along with streamlining communication, Kaczynski also wants to continue doing the Listening Tours that current SG President Emory Cavin implemented during his term. 

“That was a good initiative, and I’m very interested in keeping that going,” Kaczynski said. 

A big part of their campaign, “Impacting Policy, Elevating Voices” includes a plan to make changes to the campus that protect the different voices being represented. 

“I’ll make some changes on campus to protect all voices on campus,” Kaczynski said. “I mean, SB 266, the Senate bill that got rid of the multicultural funding from the state, and then I don’t remember the code, but the one that just made it so that trans people could get in trouble for going into their bathroom of choice, stuff like that. We just want to protect our students.”

In preparation for the candidate debate, Kaczynski and Chumbley met privately with FGCU President Aysegul Timur to discuss her strategic plan and the things they wanted to accomplish should they get elected. They said they also spent time with Timur during FGCU Day, an initiative that sends FGCU students to the state capitol to showcase their Eagle Advocacy Initiatives, at which both Kaczynski and Chumbley were both present. 

“I mean, she wants to keep the green space we have here on campus up to par,” Chumbley said. “She wants the environment around here to stay safe. And me and Ryan agree with that, you know, the fact that we’re built on this ancient reserve is […] really our bread and [butter] with the school [along with] housing.”

According to an announcement made at The Boardwalk when the election results were being announced, the number of students that voted in this year’s election doubled from that of last year. It was also announced that it was an, “incredibly close election,” according to SG Supervisor of Elections, Marthina Della Valle. 

“Obviously, the margins of victory were very slim,” Chumbley said. “But we were happy to hear that we doubled the amount of votes that we [had] last year. Really, the most important part of our policy is, you know, making sure your voice is heard, and to make sure your voice is heard you have to vote.”

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About the Contributors
Abigail Muth
Abigail Muth, Eagle News Editor-in-Chief
Abigail Muth is a senior studying journalism and was a transfer student from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Abbey was born and raised in the Cleveland area and wanted to be a teacher until her sophomore year when she discovered a passion for writing. Her dream job would be to write features or shoot documentaries for companies like National Geographic or Patagonia. Abbey is passionate about the outdoors and traveling and hopes that one day she will be able to incorporate those things into her career. When not editing or writing stories or responding to emails, Abbey can be found reading on her lanai or walking her puppy on the beach!
Jessica Piland
Jessica Piland, Eagle News Photo Editor
Jessica Piland is a senior majoring in political science and minoring in global studies. She found her passion for photography during her senior year of high school after shooting some film for fun with her grandfather’s camera from the 80s. In addition to her work as photo editor for Eagle News, she works as a staff photographer for FGCU Athletics and is a photography intern with the University Marketing and Communications department. As she enters her third year as photo editor, she is excited for the fun stories, campus events, and breaking news that Eagle News will be covering!

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