The Heights endorses candidates Jack Bracher and Gianna Russi, both MCAS ʼ22, for the 2021 Undergraduate Government of Boston College president and vice president.
This endorsement is based on each team’s policy platforms and the 30-minute meetings that The Heights editorial board held with each team. Out of the four teams running, Bracher and Russi are the best equipped to effectively lead UGBC and bring policy proposals to the University administration.
After meeting with each of the teams, it is clear that Bracher and Russi have the best team dynamic. Neither of them dominated the conversation, they seem to have a common understanding of their campaign priorities, and their respect for one another is obvious.
The Heights’ conversation with Bracher and Russi was very productive. Compared to the meetings with the other teams, it was Bracher and Russi’s collaborative approach that really set them apart. Both of them had thorough and genuine responses to questions posed by the Editorial Board. While some of the other teams’ answers were vague and primarily delivered by the presidential candidate, Bracher and Russi both equally contributed direct answers.
Both Bracher and Russi have experience in UGBC, so they know how the organization works, and where it has failed and succeeded recently. Several of the other candidates also have experience in UGBC, but Bracher and Russi’s approach—balancing a realistic understanding and optimistic vision for the organization—is especially compelling.
Their policy platform is comprehensive, with 15 detailed policy areas. Unlike some of the other campaign teams, they focus on goals that they can actually accomplish—or at least establish a foundation for—in the span of a year. While other campaigns have similarly comprehensive and intersectional policy platforms, it is Bracher and Russi’s realism that sets them apart.
They take a pragmatic approach to their environment and sustainability policy. In addition to continuing to ask the University to divest from fossil fuels, the duo plans to create an environmental and sustainability division within UGBC to further work toward the goal of divestment. Bracher and Russi are also aware that UGBC is not the only student organization on campus doing important work, so they plan to collaborate with student groups, including Climate Justice at BC and EcoPledge, in the process of creating the division. Bracher and Russi’s willingness to delegate work shows that they are strong leaders.
One of the UGBC reforms that Bracher and Russi have planned is the promotion of the chairs of the AHANA+ Leadership Council, GLBTQ+ Leadership Council, and the Council for Students with Disabilities to director positions on the Executive Council. This reform will elevate the voices of students within those communities by giving their representatives more decision-making power. It would also raise the value of the stipends that those representatives receive, which as Bracher and Russi acknowledge, encourages diversity in those roles. UGBC is an enormous time commitment, and comes at the expense of a work-study job for students who need it. Bracher and Russi stressed that they would take their stipends and encourage others to do so as well, so as to avoid creating an environment in which someone feels embarrassed to take a stipend that they depend on to fully commit to their job in UGBC.
Bracher and Russi also have realistic policies regarding the creation of an accessible path to Upper Campus and the establishment of an LGBTQ+ resource center in a currently unused space in Carney Hall. They also acknowledge that these two issues have become campaign buzzwords in recent years, with teams campaigning on these promises and not bringing them to fruition. It was refreshing to hear this sentiment from a campaign team.
UGBC already passed a non-binding resolution to create an accessible path to Upper Campus in September, but the University has not acted on it. The administration has also shut down previous talks of an LGBTQ+ resource center. So, possibly the most important quality in candidates for UGBC president and vice president is their ability to form an effective relationship with the University administration. The Student Assembly can pass resolutions, but it is up to executive leadership to make them actually happen. Bracher and Russi are the duo best positioned to use their respective offices to change Boston College for the better.
Based on their comprehensive policy platform, prior experience, and dynamics as a team, The Heights is confident that Bracher and Russi are the best suited candidates for the job.
Featured Graphic by Olivia Charbonneau/ Heights Editor