On Campus, News

Elections Committee Holds UGBC Presidential Campaign Kick-Off

The four teams running for Undergraduate Government of Boston College president and executive vice president presented some key points of their platforms Saturday at an election kickoff event.

After a week-long extension to the nomination deadline, four teams are officially in this year’s race:  Akosua Achampong and Tt King, both MCAS ’18; Raymond Mancini and Matt Batsinelas, both CSOM ’19; Davis Pollino, CSOM ’19, and Sebastian Biber, MCAS ’19; and Dan Wu and Jack Kelly, both MCAS ’18. Each team introduced itself and then presented some ideas, though all the teams’ campaign platforms have not yet been released.

Batsinelas said his team’s goal is to repair UGBC’s relationship with the administration, implement financial accountability, and expand UGBC’s resources to more students on campus. Mancini, who was unable to attend yesterday’s event, is a member of the Student Assembly, which he has criticized for its focus on issues of diversity and inclusion. In the fall, he and Michael Proietta, MCAS ’19, co-sponsored a resolution in the SA that would have created an independent committee to review UGBC’s budget, which they think is misallocated. The resolution was voted down overwhelmingly—Mancini and Proietta were the only votes in favor.

Batsinelas said that previous UGBC leadership had “destroyed” its relationship with the administration, though he did not give specific examples. Students pay a $330 activities fee that helps to fund UGBC’s $328,000 budget, which he and Mancini think is not used effectively. Batsinelas said that they are focused on outreach to groups he thinks UGBC does not serve, including first-generation students and transfer students.

Pollino and Biber have a three-part platform focused on inclusivity, transparency, and accessibility. The two want to create a diversity database of all diversity groups on campus and their descriptions. Pollino said they are also focused on diversity resources, such as finding a faculty adviser for the GLBTQ Leadership Council. Their platform criticizes UGBC for not publishing documents on voting in the SA or budget measures.

“Everything UGBC does seems to be behind closed doors,” Pollino said.

He suggested having a Facebook Live stream for every UGBC meeting or a weekly newsletter with all of UGBC’s activities for the week. UGBC does currently have a weekly email newsletter with information on events and initiatives it is sponsoring, as well as links to community resources, but it does not specifically cover SA resolutions or voting. UGBC revamped its communications department this year to focus on transparency, with an emphasis on outreach to students.

After a newlyweds game where the candidates were asked to answer questions about their running mates, Achampong and King, who were random roommates as freshmen, presented parts of their platform. Achampong is the current chair of UGBC’s AHANA Leadership Council, and King, who helps run the Bystander Intervention Program in the Women’s Center, has never been involved with UGBC before. Their platform is “Embracing We Through UGBC.”

“We understand UGBC, the undergraduate government, as an organization, to be a means to an end,” Achampong said.

They have six main platform points, including health and wellness, campus improvements, and sustainability. Achampong highlighted that BC is the only top-30 university in the country without a student center, an initiative that has been a focus this year for Russell Simons, UGBC president, and Meredith McCaffrey, UGBC executive vice president, both MCAS ’17, who presented to the Board of Trustees about a student center last fall. Their ideas also include having a UGBC app and eventually a BC app to have a central location for all events and information.

Wu and Kelly presented last, with the slogan “Let Us Empower You.” They are focused on school spirit and encouraging attendance at athletic events, as well as making health services resources more visible to students. It is unclear how those efforts would differ from the Office of Health Promotion’s. Wu, a computer science major, wants to use technology to streamline communication between students and UGBC and to highlight off-campus events that BC students might not hear about.

“As a social media person, I know about the things around BC and the surrounding towns, and I think there’s a lot of untapped potential,” Wu said.

Featured Image by Amelie Trieu / Heights Editor

February 5, 2017