Heckelman, Garrigan Set to Become Next UGBC President, VP in Uncontested Bid

Incumbent UGBC Vice President Meghan Heckelman and Senate Intersectionality Committee Chair Katie Garrigan are the lone candidates in the UGBC presidential and vice presidential elections, respectively. 

The bid makes them the first officially uncontested UGBC presidential and vice presidential ticket in Heights archival history. The Elections Committee first announced the candidates in an Instagram post on Tuesday morning.

All but assured to become UGBC’s next president, Heckelman said she and her team have begun planning for the upcoming transition. 

“It’s really difficult entering a one-year term and expecting these big sweeping changes all the time,” Heckelman, LSEHD ’25, said. “So I think it’s nice to have this period right now, where we can focus on some of the vision and a little bit less of the setup and the logistics.”

The initial deadline for candidates to declare their intent to run was March 21, but Heckelman and Garrigan, MCAS ’25, were the only candidates to submit the form, prompting the Elections Committee to extend the deadline until Tuesday at noon, according to Heckelman.

But even with the extension, Heckelman and Garrigan remained the only two in the running.

“A little while after [the 12 p.m. deadline], Katie and I received an email from the EC saying that we are the only ticket and that they have officially closed the form,” Heckelman said in a statement to The Heights

In both 2014 and 2017, only one team entered the race before the application deadline, leading the Elections Committee to extend their deadline for new candidates, as they did this year. Unlike this year, however, deadline extensions in 2014 and 2017 garnered more candidates and prevented uncontested elections.

Garrigan served as the Montserrat Coalition representative last year before winning a seat in the UGBC Senate and becoming its intersectionality committee chair. Heckelman said these experiences make her acutely aware of students’ needs and how to advocate for them. 

“I’m really excited to be running with Katie because I think that she’s a fantastic advocate for students and has been now and UGBC for two years going strong—especially working really hard in the Montserrat area and with intersectionality issues on campus,” Heckelman said.

The pair said they hope to tap into their collective experience and utilize their connections with administrators, faculty, and fellow UGBC policymakers during their time in the Senate.

“What we’re looking to do here is leveraging the established relationships,” Garrigan said. “The Senate has been incredibly strong this year, and in years past, I don’t think it has been our most productive unit. I think that a lot of that was because of the relationships we’ve developed within our committees and with administrators.” 

Heckelman said she hopes to continue existing initiatives targeted at improving the academic advising process for students, a goal she says will help BC better live up to its values. 

“I know for BC, a big advertising point right now is that we’re aiming to be the leader in formative education, and that is something that affects every student, not just in the classroom, but outside,” Heckelman said. 

According to Garrigan, a major problem facing BC is that resources for students from underrepresented backgrounds are spread across many different offices, which can make accessing them difficult, Garrigan said. Increasing outreach and visibility for these programs would be an effective way to reduce these barriers, she added. 

“UGBC and sometimes student leaders often hear that resources can be siloed in certain spaces, and our hope is by getting in front of students, meeting with them in their spaces, that we can work on some of that,” Garrigan said.

The ticket also hopes to empower the AHANA caucus—a group they say has often been underutilized by UGBC in the past—to play a larger role in advocating for students of color, Garrigan said. 

“A big thing we had talked about next year was reallocating some of our funds to make those AHANA caucus meetings much better, much more productive space for cultural clubs to get together and talk about some of their general concerns, to be able to, I think, advocate in a much more direct way than maybe it has been in years past,” Garrigan said. 

Garrigan and Heckelman both emphasized that change is achieved gradually, and said that while they hope to achieve many small-scale victories, they believe it is unrealistic to solve BC’s most pressing issues in just one year.

“We have a lot of long-term goals that might not happen this year necessarily, but we’re going to keep pushing for those while also aiming to deliver small, little wins for students as we’ve done in the Senate and throughout our organization this year,” Heckelman said.

March 27, 2024