Hundreds gathered at the Office of Student Activities and Student Government Association Declaration, which served as a kick-off event for campaign week at Florida A&M University.
Students packed Dyson Pharmacy auditorium to witness candidates announce the official launch of their campaign on Sunday, Feb. 15.
One-by-one and occasionally two-by-two, students recited speeches. Some candidates sang FAMU inspired remixes to modern-day ballads appeared to be the tactic for the night, which encouraged members of the crowd singing along.
Some of the candidates did not capture the audience’s attention in one attempt. Justin Bruno, a sophomore majoring in computer engineering from Orlando, Fla., stumbled upon his speech in front of the crowd. However, after attempting to recite it again, he was welcomed to a cheering audience.
Bruno shared what lead to the mishap, noting that he is more effective communicator in a smaller setting.
“I was nervous,” said Bruno. “I’m generally more effective in regular speech. I was up there and I saw a lot of people that I cared about and they believe in me. I was in my emotions instead of thinking about the speech.”
Bruno also mentioned that the event is about the students, which encouraged him to move on after the brief faux pas.
“After it was over, I hit myself on the hand and moved forward. That night was about the students, not me so I can’t get mad about my shortcomings and inadequacies.”
Imani Jennings, a freshman majoring in business administration from North Miami, Fla., thought the event was interesting, mentioning how the act of declaring candidacy is courageous.
“I thought the variety of candidates was very interesting,” Jennings said. “There were people I didn’t expect to declare candidacy. I felt as though a lot of people gave their heart and they spoke well. At the end of the day, it shows who has the most heart.”
Jennings expressed her excitement about being able to support her peers.
“I know a lot of people who are running for sophomore attendant, and I get to vote for them. Even SGA president, vice president and electoral commission apply to me. It feels good knowing I could help,” Jennings said.
Many upperclassmen considered the event to be the best candidate declaration event since enrolling at FAMU. Jasmine Wright, a junior majoring in allied health from Coconut Grove, Fla., shared her thoughts about it.
“I have never seen a candidacy declaration so packed before,” Wright said. “I was literally shoulder to shoulder with other people. But, the candidates showed out tonight. This, by far, has been the most elaborate declaration I have attended while being here and I have been to two.”
Candidates will be walking around the FAMU community for an entire week, for more information regarding their platform points, approach them.