Caitlyn Zona and Jarell Jones have known each other since their freshman years. In January 2015, Jarell introduced Cait to the idea to run for Student Body president and vice president as he felt Student Government Association needed strong leaders in position. Evaluating their strengths, Cait with very strong advocacy skills and Jarell’s passion for programming, they felt Cait would be best in the president position. With 63+ percent of the votes, they became the new leaders for SGA Student Body.
Cait, from New Smyrna Beach, is a rising senior with a major of political science with a certificate of TESL. She has been active with the SGA legislature since her freshman year with most recently, the Speaker of the Senate and with President Pro Tempore position in her sophomore year. She has held many leadership positions including President’s Leadership Council member, University Fee Committee chair, and Activity and Service Fee Budget Committee vice chair.
Jarell, from Ft. Lauderdale, is a rising senior with a major of Business Management with a minor in Human Communication. He has been involved with SGA since his freshman year with most recently as SGA Director of Communications. He has served in various leadership positions and agencies within the Office of Student Involvement. When he served on the Student Development and Enrollment Services Student Advisory Council, he heard from many students about their needs and what changes they would like.
They will be working with a budget of $18.6M. Their priorities are advocating for campus safety and increasing awareness of student campus engagement.
SGA President Cait will advocate for campus and student safety including to:
Both expressed that they would like to expand and re-vamp the KnightLYNX shuttle system to stop in front of communities along Alafaya Drive for student convenience and safety, avoiding walking late at night.
SGA Vice President Jarell will publicize student engagement programming so that students are “aware and feel connected with all services.” He said he plans to:
Cait added, “We think our campus does a great job at providing various opportunities for every knight. Students say no one ever wants to leave because the atmosphere is so great. We just want to fill in the cracks, it doesn’t take a lot [money] to make changes; it just takes effort.”
Other platform items include:
• Knightro’s Suits, a new initiative where students will be able to rent a store donated professional suit or dress for job interviews at Knightro’s Closet.
• Add more phone charging stations in the SGA facilities
• Increase access to world news for students on the TVs in the Student Union. Jarell stated, “It is important for students to know what is going on.”
They will also be talking to the Office of Student Academic Resource Center to expand tutoring services as well as to Transfer and Transfer Services on ideas how SGA can help transfer students with their transition to UCF.
SDES asked Cait and Jarell what were their favorite quotes:
Cait: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world by Mahatma Gandhi. I have always said this quote. Everyone has two hands, one for helping yourself and one for helping others. It is important for students to know that they can change their world. They can unleash their legacy and can make a difference wherever they go.”
Jarell: “Don’t aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally by David Frost. We heard from some student criticisms that we were running for the title. That is the one thing I want to ensure students that is not true. We actually love what we do here. She loves advocating on the behalf of students and I love programming and student involvement. We are doing everything with the students in mind. We want students to know we got here because we really want to make a difference. We hope that we can leave our legacy as well as help others to unleash theirs.”
SGA President Cait’s and Vice President Jarell’s dedication and passion for serving students complement each other. It works.