Candidates for the Class Council of 2023 gathered in the Jean Center Auditorium Wednesday night to pitch their vision of leadership to their peers. The freshman class arrived on campus just over four weeks ago; in which time they have begun to participate in student clubs and organizations, oriented themselves to campus life, and established themselves as Anselmians. As is custom at Saint Anselm College, a select few students have stepped forward in hopes of representing their class in the Student Government Association – the governing voice of students on campus.
As the crowd of approximately 35 students of different classes eagerly awaited the candidates’ speeches, one could not help but notice the apparent lack of freshmen present. This was noted by multiple candidates throughout the duration of the speeches; as the seven speakers began to focus their message around communication and engagement.
Delaney Flanagan, the sole candidate for the position of Secretary spoke about her past experiences and leadership qualifications, as well as her desire to represent her class in SGA. Flanagan at one point remarked that their goal as a class should be to “make the hilltop a home for all of us”.
Eric O’Connor and Ben Mickens, both senate candidates for 2023 discussed the need for a representative governing body. O’Connor stated “the student’s interests are my interests”, and Mickens echoed his peer’s sentiments by explaining that he had been motivated to run for office in order to “fully commit” to being at Saint Anselm College. Being that O’Connor and Mickens are the only two candidates running for the four open senate seats, a reality the Class of 2023 may face is attending their first senate meeting with only half of their delegation. One audience member asked the two young candidates how exactly they were planning on filling those vacant senate seats. They remarked that for the time being, they would simply be forced to “do twice the work”, but no clear strategies or suggestions were given.
The first students of the night to run opposed were vice-presidential candidates Andrew Gianattasio and Merrick Bilodeau. Gianattasio presented a bold vision of the position of Vice President, explaining that it was not the most glamorous position, but it was easily the most important. He termed the position “Super Senator” and asserted that on any issue facing students, SGA needed to fully commit to changing the situation. In a similar manner to her opponent, Bilodeau also focused on the importance of the position and began by saying that the question Anselmians should be asking themselves is “How can we be better?”. She also suggested campaigns focused on kindness and school spirit to increase student involvement.
The final students to speak, presidential candidates Emily Dickey and Stefan Zwolinski each emphasized the strong sense of community on campus, and they pointed out the importance of selfless leadership. Dickey began by saying she was proud to be an Anselmian and that her mission should she be elected would be to enact changes that would be, in her words, “not only better for me, but better for our class”. In his speech, Zwolinski attempted to set himself apart from what may be viewed as the traditional presidential candidate. He asserted that he was “not going to be the typical president”, and that the features of his presidency would include selfless leadership, constant and efficient communication, and strong will. One audience member asked the two presidential candidates about their power to appoint other non-elected members of their council – specifically what position they would seek to create as a part of that council. Zwolinski answered first by pledging to appoint a communications manager responsible for networking, outreach and bringing people together. Dickey, on the other hand, argued that it was unrealistic to believe that everyone in the class would be an active participant and that the class council simply “can’t get everyone.” She suggested instead that it would be more productive to identify groups of active students and engage with them directly in hopes that they would, in turn, gain the support of their peers. She ended by promising to appoint a social media director responsible for public outreach.
As the week-long campaigns for the positions of Secretary, Senator, Vice President, and President begin, all eyes will be on the candidates. Now, the question becomes this: who will win the election, and will they prove to be the leader their class needs?
If you’re interested in learning more about the candidates, their goals, and the election of the Class of 2023, please follow the Hilltopper on social media and at our website as we will be posting interviews with the candidates in the coming days.
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