Two teams launched their bids for UGBC president and vice president Friday afternoon, kicking off a race that will end when students cast their ballots on April 5.
The candidates for president are Lubens Benjamin, chair of UGBC’s AHANA+ Leadership Council and CSOM ’23, and Kudzai Kapurura, this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship recipient and MCAS ’23.
Their respective running mates are Julia Spagnola, chair of UGBC’s Academic Affairs Committee and MCAS ’23, and Lawrence Zhang, CAB’s assistant director for finance and live entertainment and MCAS ’23.
Benjamin and Spagnola announced their candidacy first at the election kick-off event hosted by the Elections Committee.
“Since my time at BC, I’ve really grown just because of the doors that this place has opened up to me,” Benjamin said during their announcement. “If I can make those doors more accessible to other students to open and enhance their experience, there’s nothing else I’d rather do.”
Spagnola emphasized the relationships she and Benjamin have formed with various campus offices and faculty members during their time in UGBC.
“Our policies are really intentional about not making these talking points with the same things that people come up here and say every year,” Spagnola said. “Because of our experience in the organization and working with each other and working with administrators, we also know what is not just practical but possible.”
Benjamin and Spagnola also detailed their four-point campaign platform, which includes diversity, equity, and inclusion, academic experience, student life, and institutional structures within UGBC.
Some of their priorities include evaluating the student academic advising process, streamlining the bias- and hate-related violations reporting system, and taking short-term steps to improve sustainability on campus.
“When it comes to environmental sustainability, we are very keen on having short-term goals and solutions while still working towards long-term goals, like divestment, as well,” Benjamin said.
Ultimately, Spagnola said their team is not focused solely on winning or losing, but on creating change on campus.
“We want to lay the foundations that something greater is possible for future students at BC, and we promise that we’ll give you all we have,” Spagnola said.
After Benjamin and Spagnola’s speech, Kapurura announced her run for presidency and Zhang’s run for the vice presidency.
“We think that this is an opportunity to now serve a greater part of our student body and we are enthusiastic to take that opportunity up,” Kapurura said. “I couldn’t think of anyone better to do that with than Lawrence.”
Kapurura said she and Zhang are approaching UGBC from an outside perspective in an effort to incite change within the organization.
“We have no UGBC experience, which I think works better because we don’t have to worry about the complexity of bureaucracy and … we come in with a fresh perspective,” Kapurura said.
The team’s campaign platform outlined a wide range of goals—from diversity, equity, and inclusion to sustainability.
Some of their proposed changes include establishing a career development program within the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences, involving students in the hiring process for professors, and having a UGBC representative on Boston College’s Board of Trustees. Zhang also cited recent problems with housing at BC as an issue the team plans to address.
“Not only this year, but in years past, BC housing has always been an issue, and we will work with Office of Residential Life and other departments like BC Information Technology to … ensure that the website capabilities next year are up to date and that we have transparency around the process,” Zhang said.
According to Kapurura, she and Zhang are the best candidates because they have collected and heard so many student experiences.
“Leadership is not about what we want to do or what we think we can do, but it’s about thinking about what does our student body need and how can we best implement those needs through policy,” she said.
Featured Image by Erin Shannon / Heights Editor