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Column: What's Most Needed For UGBC

Heights Columnist

Published: Sunday, January 29, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01

Last Thursday my esteemed colleague Sean Talia described a new climate in the Republican presidential primaries. Tomorrow's vote in Florida will prove a pivotal day for at least one presidential hopeful and perhaps determine who can survive in this world of mudslinging that has become so central to several campaigns.

Although the most publicized, the Republican primary field is not the only sight of political climate change in the country. On Wednesday in Chestnut Hill, Mass., six UGBC presidential and vice presidential hopefuls will begin their quest for the highest student-held office in the land. The climate around this election season is significantly different from that of years past due to the boldness of several young men and women and their "party" that exploded onto campus last spring.

The people of whom I speak are Dave Lalonde, A&S '12, and Ryan Tierney, CSOM '12, who ran under the Vote Against Growth (VAG) banner. Many people, including myself, vocally supported this potty humor campaign that aimed to get more students involved in the UGBC elections.

Their message was quite simple: go out and vote even if it's just because you don't want us in office. Mission accomplished, VAG. There was a record turnout for the primary election, where Lalonde-Tierney was handily crushed by the other camps, and then again in the general election due in part, I believe, to their continued involvement in the process by endorsing the underdog—and winning—candidates. They entered the race as a joke and finished the race as the deciding factor in who would be the next leaders of the student body.

We also wished to help people learn that all it takes to run for UGBC president and vice president is an e-mail address and a campaign manager. Perhaps this was to highlight a potential flaw in the process, but indeed this secondary vision is now being seen by the student body. We have four teams who are relativew UGBC outsiders—making them excellent candidates in the Republican primaries but perhaps not for our campus—and  many have not even heard of three of those four teams. One of those three dark horse teams, whose identity I will not reveal so as not to tarnish their chances, had their names tossed around in post-election VAG strategy meetings to carry the torch Lalonde-Tierney lit last year.

The primary issue of last election season was student involvement in the process. The record turnout and abundance of unexpected campaign teams this year demonstrate that the teams can now consider other matters of importance to student life at Boston College.

Central to all the teams this year will be their plans to address the lackluster academic advising program for undergraduates. Some students, particularly those in A&S, do not even know who their academic advisor is. Others only go to pick up their access codes because their advisors will not be able to provide meaningful input, as  they have neither looked at the course catalog nor taken the time to learn about their advisees' interests.

The worst offenders of all, though, are the professors who tell their advisees, "I do not have time for you." This does happen and sheds the most light on why whoever wishes to win the student vote needs to demand the administration do something to address the deficiency in undergraduate academic advising.

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