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‘The Heights’ Endorses Fiore-Chettiar & Marchese

Published: Monday, February 17, 2014

Updated: Monday, February 17, 2014 09:02

They also seem to have a good grasp of the larger, often unaddressed, cultural issues facing BC students. Starting within UGBC, they want to increase the number of students who receive Bystander Education training, by encouraging Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) to have their members trained in the Bystander program—they said that they would incentivize that process by using it as a factor when making funding decisions. Another concern that has been a focus of their campaign is that of socioeconomic status, which they want to address both by increasing campus discussion on the topic through forums like BC Ignites and by offering new resources, such as a UGBC-run iClicker rental program and a BC-specific textbook exchange website, to help students cut costs. Both of these plans are well within the purview of UGBC, can be accomplished during a single year, and would help students save money on essentials for a college education.

These kinds of specific and measured goals are indicative of the sort of planning which their opponents lack. Both Levine and Vergara are deficient in UGBC experience and lack a nuanced understanding of how the student government, advocacy, and the University administration function. Given that advocacy is the primary role of the new UGBC, the possibility of unprepared leaders in such a position is disconcerting.

In their long-term vision, the Fiore-Chettiar-Marchese team has outlined several areas in which it can build a foundation for the next few UGBC administrations. Eventually, they would like to see both behind-the-scenes improvements, like a student seat on the Board of Trustees, and more visible changes, such as the establishment of an on-campus pub. Fiore-Chettiar and Marchese have broken down the path to achieving said goals into steps and are taking a realistic approach to what they can and cannot hope to achieve in one year.

In addition to a well-developed platform, Fiore-Chettiar and Marchese have drafted a timeline, which matches most of their platform points with specific dates by which they should be accomplished. This is a welcome variation on the usual campaign material, as it provides a straightforward and easy way for the student body to hold the team accountable for the promises they make during the campaign season—a perennially difficult task. Along with a timeline, they have broken down some of their platform points based on difficulty, recognizing that some of their goals will take more time than others.

There are certainly areas in which the Fiore-Chettiar-Marchese team must improve. As UGBC insiders, Fiore-Chettiar and Marchese likely do not have the best perception of what the average BC student wants from the student government, which is one of the areas in which the Levine-Vergara team excels. Throughout the campaign season, Levine and Vergara have made a visible and concerted effort to connect with the student body and learn what changes they want to see. If elected, Fiore-Chettiar and Marchese must follow in the footsteps of their opponents and put in the time to step outside of the UGBC bubble and communicate with students from many different parts of the BC community, so as to remain aware of what concerns most BC students. Additionally, in order to raise awareness of what UGBC does for the student body, they ought to execute smaller, yet more visible, parts of their platform early in the year.

Although Fiore-Chettiar and Marchese are both strong candidates, the team dynamic is of some concern. While serving in the SA this year, they have often voted against each other on major resolutions. This is disconcerting, given how important it is for the president and executive vice president to work well together. In order to be successful next year, Fiore-Chettiar and Marchese need to step fully into their respective roles. Within UGBC, they should work to foster a collegial and professional atmosphere among the departments and branches and must be willing to compromise when necessary. If elected, they must also keep in mind that it is far easier to talk about transparency in someone else’s administration than it is to remain committed to their promises of an open government—when problems arise, they must be willing to stay honest with the student body about their shortcomings.

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