SG president Cubillo reviews first semester
Juan Cubillo has completed his first semester as student body president. Now that he has some presidential experience, Eagle News asked Cubillo what he thinks of being commander-in-chief of the Florida Gulf Coast University student body.
Here’s what he had to say:
Eagle News: You’ve completed your first semester as SG president. Is it anything like you expected?
Juan Cubillo: It has been everything I expected. I knew from the beginning there would be ups and downs and I have been able to grow as a person throughout the process
Eagle News: What progress has SG made on the 14 initiatives on the SG website?
Juan Cubillo: We offered many initiatives on our platform and we have made great progress. We just received the course calculators, which will be ready in the spring. We just received 2 scantron vending machines, which will also be installed by spring. Thanks to the bonus we received from the state, Luis and I convinced administration to continue the 24-hour extension of the library with that money instead of students’ money. We just sponsored an event that offered free HIV testing and we are sponsoring an upcoming concert that offers free STD testing. Along with the Florida Student Association, we have pushed for the construction of the recreation center as much as we could on the students’ behalf and we will continue to campaign and lobby for it on a state level. We are just waiting on what stance the Governor takes, which will determine the outcome. I already have a plan written up for Greek housing and I am meeting with land donors and university officials to establish a concrete plan. We are also working with university officials on a university-wide app. The rough draft has already been created. Luis and I serve on the committee to enhance the university’s entrance and library lawn so we will begin seeing changes to those areas Summer 2014. So we have actually completed or began the process for most of our initiatives. The implementation just takes a little time due to the numerous steps we have to take to get things done.
Eagle News: You’ve been criticized for spending the most money on travel of any SG president. Do you think the benefits have outweighed the criticism?
Juan Cubillo: The criticism about my travel is irrelevant. I had university officials review my travel expenditures and confirmed with them that my travel has been no different than the presidents before me. However, I will mention that the trips I have taken were meant to make SG stronger and more knowledgeable. It is important for us to see what works and what doesn’t across the country. The top schools in this country did not become great on their own. They had to observe others and borrow ideas, which is what we have done on every trip. And some schools have borrowed our ideas, which means we have spread our name positively across the country. For example, Colorado State University borrowed the concept of our Florida Student Association and I am still working with them to help them achieve that. We borrowed ideas from them that we are trying to implement here and we also managed to get an article about our collaboration in their school paper. And while there, we fed the homeless at 5am and attended a national conference in which FGCU was considered a favorite and they still contact me for help and advice. Our travel has been beneficial and has created a stronger dynamic within our cabinet.
Eagle News: There has been a lot of criticism of the barbershop. Will it be returning next semester? Do you still find it to be a valuable asset to the student body?
Juan Cubillo: The barbershop was intended to meet a demand that the local area was not meeting. Now that TwinCutz has opened in Town Center, we no longer need the mobile barbershop. It will not be returning.
Eagle News: What do you feel has been your greatest accomplishment thus far into your presidency?
Juan Cubillo: My greatest accomplishment so far has been my ability to make progress on the things that will become the future of FGCU. One day we’re going to need Greek housing to compete with other Florida schools. We’re going to need a student-run radio station. We are going to need a recreation center that fits our needs and I have been able to get these projects off the ground. I may not finish them and I may not singlehandedly do them. But with perseverance and a lot of help, I have opened up the gates for our future students to walk onto a campus that will compete with the best universities in the country.
Eagle News: If you could go back, would you do anything differently?
Juan Cubillo: If I could go back to the beginning, I would change the way I hired my cabinet. I hired people who did not understand who we are, why I ran for president or what our vision is. I need hard working people who are ready to help Luis and I execute our plans and luckily I have made the proper changes to strengthen our circle. I am very happy with and proud of the cabinet at this moment.
Eagle News: What are you looking forward to next semester?
Juan Cubillo: Next semester I am looking forward to the Mr. and Ms. FGCU Pageant! It is a tradition that seems to fit well with our campus life.
Eagle News: What is your favorite part of being SG president? Least
Juan Cubillo: My favorite part of being SG president is having the ability to leave a good imprint in people’s minds about FGCU. When I go to local communities to deliver meals to poor families, they think of FGCU as a hero to their families. When I meet politicians, they remember FGCU positively and hopefully they continue to support our university through their funding decisions. I love being a great representation of the university that gave me opportunities that my family never had. My least favorite part is how cruel and personal people can be, especially when they never took the time to know me. Even people close to me who are not related to Student Government have received threatening messages from people who have never met me and I don’t think that’s called for. This is why veteran politicians lose their sensitivity towards their constituents and I am really trying to make sure I don’t let a few bad apples stop me from seeing the good in people.