Jonathan Gundana and Emma Canedo, a dedicated duo, have been elected Clemson University Student Government (CUSG) president and vice president, respectively. Gundana hails from Fountain Inn, South Carolina while Canedo is from Alpharetta, Georgia.
Gundana and Canedo are active Clemson students with widespread involvement in leadership and general member positions.
After two intern rotations at a patent law firm in Greenville, Gundana will enter his fifth year at Clemson in the fall as a senior mechanical engineering major. He has been heavily involved with the Student Alumni Council since he was a freshman, serving as president his junior year and director of membership sophomore year.
Gundana is also an experienced member of CUSG, previously serving on the freshman council, organization committee, and as the director of activities and director of the freshman council. He has served as brother at-large and brotherhood chair for Alpha Sigma Phi while serving as director of programming and public relations on IFC’s executive board. Gundana is a member of the Howell pre-law society as well, intending to pursue a law degree upon graduation.
Canedo, a junior nursing major, is the perfect complement to Gundana — bringing a wealth of experience from other student organizations and a fresh perspective to the vice president position.
“There was no dip of the toes in the water,” Canedo said. “I was kind of pushed into the pool, but I’m swimming now. This has been an exciting journey.”
A member of Clemson’s Honors College, Canedo is currently on Tri Delta sorority’s executive board as standards chair, serving as Panhellenic delegate and activities chair in the past. She is a Peer-Assisted Leader (PAL) for anatomy and physiology, a member of the Student Nurses Association, Order of Omega and Game of Thrones Club.
Gundana is excited to have Canedo by his side.
“I ran to truly improve student life here at Clemson and I think we have a really good opportunity to do that,” he said. “We were the most prepared candidates, from being in student government going on four years to having Emma’s outside perspective and knowledge in leadership aside from CUSG.”
“I always knew that Emma was somebody that was going to lead on this campus and do a lot of great things. She was the first person that came to mind when I thought about running for student body president. I guess all the pieces just fell into place.”
Canedo, likewise, looks forward to working with and learning from Gundana.
“Jonathan’s name has always been one that had been tossed around and spoken highly of,” she said. “When I got to finally befriend him, I saw all those qualities that people raved about him and the way he gives back to Clemson. The passion he has for serving others and his genuine personality is ever-present.”
Canedo decided to join the campaign after realizing the importance of her opportunity to serve the school.
“I thought on it for a while and kept coming back to my favorite thing about Clemson: the people,” she said. “It’s the people here at Clemson that make it as great as it is. I absolutely love this school and it has given me more than I could ever imagine. It’s provided me so much happiness and memories that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life. I’ll always come back to Clemson.”
Their campaign platform centers on the efforts to improve diversity and inclusion at Clemson.
“We both agree that the most important thing that we can implement during the course of our time in office is going to be improving diversity and inclusion,” Canedo said. “Our lack of diversity needs to be addressed.”
Their campaign also strongly advocates for improvements within CUSG and the always popular topic of on-campus parking.
“You have to look internally because if you’re not doing well as a student government, then you won’t be able to do the things you need to do externally,” Gundana said. “I think improvements will occur with the people we bring in on cabinet and how we structure things.”
The two are planning to implement full student government meetings that don’t currently exist.
“If student government members fully know what’s going on, this can be better communicated to the rest of campus,” he added. “It will help spread our breadth and knowledge of CUSG as a school.”
With the influx of students enrolling at Clemson, there is less parking and more commuting.
“Our goal is to start conversations about parking improvements and push for a parking court run through the judicial branch of student government,” Canedo said. “Right now, submitting appeals goes through faculty and we believe a parking court would help as students understand more where other students are coming from with appeals for citations.”
The inauguration of the new leaders — originally planned in conjunction with CUSG’s annual awards ceremony for early April — will now take place virtually on Monday, March 30. A reception will be planned at a more appropriate time to be determined to honor the newly elected leaders.
“We’re ready to represent the student body, not just for ourselves or a specific group of people, but we’re ready to represent all University undergraduates,” Gundana concluded. “We’re grateful for this opportunity and grateful to serve.”
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