Interview With Osnato-Taziva

The Heights: What motivated you to run for UGBC president and vice president?

Chris Osnato: I know for me at least, I have a really big passion for BC. I love going wild at the football games, I’m front row in the end zone every single week with my face painted going nuts. My passion for football here really flows over into my passion for everything else. I’ve been involved in UGBC, QSLC, my radio show, and I really have a passion for all things BC. I think that passion is really something that I want to see brought back to a lot of different things at BC other than just football games and Marathon Monday, and I think that passion should come from the undergraduate government. I think that’s what they’re there for, to be representatives for the undergraduates, and when you have a government that’s not exciting students, that’s not hosting things, there’s no reason that students should be excited themselves. It’s the UGBC’s responsibility to go out and instill passion in students and help them find what they want to do and what motivates them, and that energy and excitement that I bring to everything I do here at BC is why I decided to run.

Kudzai Taziva: I’ve been involved with UGBC since freshman year as a senator. I was in the cabinet sophomore year, and this year I’m director of PR for ALC, so I have a good perspective on how the organization works and functions. At the same time, I don’t think UGBC defines my experience here or who I am, and I think that’s important in the sense that a good government has a balance of people who are involved and dedicated to things going on in the government, and also people who are involved in other things outside UGBC and can pick up on what the campus climate is. Senators are elected individuals, and through my experience with that, I noticed I was well-connected with the student body, and I think that’s what we want to do with our campaign: connect everyone on campus, answer the needs of all students, and help students find their passion here at BC. UGBC puts on great events, but the turnout is questionable sometimes. It’s usually just UGBC kids, and during dorm walks, it’s really interesting to hear what people have to say. We want to increase collaboration with other organizations on campus because that’s a good way to get our name out as well as help those organizations with things like publicity and funding.

The Heights: An important part of the campaign is your platform. Can you explain what your key platform points are and what you would accomplish if elected?

CO: Our platform really lines up into two general ideas: the grander concepts from year to year and then actual steps we’re working on for next year. The undergraduate government gets a third of all student activities fees, and they’re supposed to put on events for the students. Every semester since I’ve been at BC there’s been a concert, and last semester that didn’t happen. I think that’s unacceptable. I really think the undergraduate government should be doing more things, but things like that that I know students want and that they have fun with, that’s something we’re working to bring back. I work in SPO so I’ve been along with the discussion they’ve had so far, and that’s something we’re definitely looking to bring back. While that’s more of a fun thing, the rest of our ideas are about building up students and building up passions. A lot of students come into BC with no idea what they want to study. We want to have a major and minor fair, and what we do there is we line up all the majors and all the minors, cause there are so many creative minors that students don’t know about. It would be similar to student activities day but much more organized. We don’t just have administrators there, but also students, which increases the relationships between freshmen and sophomores and juniors and seniors and really lets students make those connections. I’m a poli sci major and I know what classes are really fun, and what professors are good, and what classes you might have to work a little harder in. I like sharing that information with students, but some students don’t have anyone to talk to. That’s a point we really want to hit hard. Another big thing we want to work on is off campus relations. We both live off campus, so we know how difficult it is finding a subletter, getting a lease, finding a place, etc. We want to make that process more streamlined. We want to have student-run presentations talking about what realtors are like, what you should do when you’re with your realtor, what places you should look at, what to say to your landlord, etc. Your relationship with your landlord is incredibly important, especially when things go wrong. Moving on from that, the subletting process is a huge jumble right now. ResLife does a pretty good job with international students, but the summer subletting process is done by students and outreach with that, and helping people find someone to sublet for the summer would be great. We want to create a system where there is a streamlined subletting process where there are direct resources people can access.

KT: More initiatives and goals we have are approving academic advising through more peer advising. We want to improve school spirit because we think it needs to go up not only for football, but have students just go to more things and be more involved in general. We want to revamp that freshman tailgate experience with a DJ, food, and a good experience all around.

CO: We want to make it more than just a place people are going to stop by and grab some food [from] on their way down. A lot of freshmen, if they don’t know someone, they have nothing to do. If you had a designated area on Upper or Newton where freshmen can go and talk, it would be great. One of my favorite events freshman year was the summer cookout on Newton. They just had a lot of people there, and it was a lot of fun. If we could set up something like that for football games, that would give freshmen a lot of stuff to do. We also want to set up a fan rewards program for sports games. We have great attendance at football games and great attendance at hockey games, but beyond that, we really drop the ball. We want to reward students that are going to the games, and it provides incentive to go to more events. Schools like Ohio State have various different programs like this, so the precedent is there. We know where we can go to find out what this is like. We can give away free tickets, work to reduce ticket prices, give away sweatshirts and memorabilia. Everyone’s always looking into it for what’s in it for them, so rewarding fans for being the awesome fans they can be is a great way to give them credit for it. That’s something we can do to improve school spirit

KT: The general tone of our platform is reconnecting UGBC with students on campus. We want UGBC to be relevant on campus, and we want students to know how it’s organized and how it works. They should know who on their dorms is involved in UGBC, like a dorm representative. We want to make sure students are using all of the resources the school provides like MyBC, which SPO wants to use as a virtual student center, and we’re in support of that one portal where everyone can access and find out information. Being relevant is really important to us, and we need to increase our collaboration within UGBC with ALC, GLC, and Senate as one united government. I’ve seen some of that this year with interdepartmental work, and we really support that. We also want to increase collaboration with other organizations on campus with other RSOs like culture clubs in terms of having diverse interactions. If you have some culture club putting on a really fun event, obviously people will flock to that. But those organizations need better funding and better publicity, so we want to look at how everything is financed and how we can help them. A student involvement council would be really beneficial where NOTH, other RSOs, and UGBC are communicating and learning to collaborate for events so that you get good turnout and high quality events. The other part is increasing the opportunities and the chances students have to find their passion here on campus. We’re really passionate individuals, and we want to increase the chance for other people to find what they’re into. We want to expand the organizations to have students create their own directorships and give people perspective on what each different RSO is all about, and by collaborating, we’re really hoping to set that tone of inclusivity.

The Heights: What skill sets do you each have that you think would allow you to lead UGBC successfully?

CO: Well in general, I consider myself a very charismatic leader, and already I have a lot of great relationships with the administrators we’d have to work with if we get elected. I really think that those relationships can fuel getting things done, getting initiatives across, and making sure that what we’re saying we’re going to do is actually going to happen. Sometimes when you start off, there’s a period where you have to get to know people, but we’re not going to have that. Kudzai and I have great relationships with a lot of administrators, and that’s really something that could make a very smooth transition and let us start working right away. As far as experiences go, sophomore year I was in UGBC as the director of student rights. I’m currently the vice chairperson of QSLC, an organization I’ve been involved in each year since I got here, so I have experience working with a budget, making sure that I know how much money is available, and I know what it’s like to go to SOFC to submit a budget request and appeal it. I know a lot of different structural things, and I know how an organization should be run. I know what it’s like to promote events and have them be successful. That combined with my experience in UGBC as well as the skill set that I feel like I have – a good nature – I’m always willing to listen to people and help them out. We think that something like that is something that should be fostered at BC. That really does stem from the UGBC, and we think that what we’re all about is sitting down with people and communicating [with] them and just telling them what we want to do. It’s amazing the response we’ve gotten from that, and we both feel that our ability to communicate consistently with the people we’ve been involved with will make the process much easier and would make UGBC better as a whole.

KT: I was a senator freshman year, director of special initiatives, and this year I’m head of PR in ALC, so I’ve gotten to see three different administrations at work, and I’ve taken notes, seen what’s worked and what hasn’t. It gives me good perspective on how the organization works organically at its roots. Structurally I’ve seen effective and not so effective things executed. I don’t think UGBC defines my experience here. I think reason and judgment are essential qualities of a leader, and I definitely possess those qualities. I’m a philosophy major here, and I’ve read a lot of the work of great thinkers that influences my thoughts and my daily activities. I’m also passionate, and I like to have a good time. I want that to be similar to all students on campus. Ways to reconnect students across all grades and making a unity that goes along with coming to BC is very important to us.

CO: I think that one thing Kudzai touched on that is really what we’re all about is that we aren’t limited in our experiences here. One of the things we like to hang our hat on is that we’ve done so many different things on campus, so we know what the everyday issues of lots of students are. We know what it’s like living off campus, we know what it’s like living on Newton, and we know what it’s like to do these things that students have to worry about on a daily basis. We aren’t defined by our experience in UGBC even though it’s been fantastic. This is why we’re running because we believe in this organization, and we think we can do great things with it. But we feel as though it’s what we’ve done outside of UGBC that gives us the perspective and the ability to be leaders for the campus, as a whole, as opposed to just certain small areas.

The Heights: You’ve spoken a lot about your platform and your abilities. Is there anything you’d like to say in addition?

CO: One initiative that I wanted to bring up also is the BC to Boston program.  We want to have more BC to Boston career type events by working with the career center to establish relationships with in-Boston companies. The career center puts on great events, but sometimes they don’t have the resources to publicize them, and we feel as though UGBC’s resources would be great to bring to the career center, and the BC to Boston mantra of breaking the bubble is something we really want to carry over into careers because it’s an untapped market among BC students.

KT: Chris and I love this school. What we’re all about is students’ goals, students’ experiences, and students’ passions. Those things sum up what our campaign is about, what our platform is about, and what we’re striving for, as well as being relevant on campus. Taking a look at the structure and working with the advisors and seeing what the most effective way to do that is key, and making sure that every student is fulfilled when they graduate. Going into senior year, I’m excited but I’m also a little scared [because] I don’t know what the world has to offer me or what I have to offer the world. The position of president and vice president allows you to have a lot of say to implement things and reflect on your time here, making sure you’re being effective as a leader and as a student

CO: Everyone wants to leave their legacy and leave their mark, and that’s something that we want to do too. We love it here – we love BC. I love the smell of the air on game day, I love the wind whipping through the Quad in the fall, I just love everything about BC, and I want other people to know that there are things to love here. If they haven’t found anything, I want them to find something to love here

KT: Al Dea, who was president my freshman year, when he gave his talk at the last meeting, he said, “Fall in love at BC.” And that struck me not just in a find-a-woman or a counterpart way, but find something you love here. UGBC is something I love, but at the same time I think there’s much more to me and much more offered to students here, and we want to make sure that students are always falling in love.


February 5, 2012