Eric O’Connor, a resident of Providence, Rhode Island is one of two candidates to represent the Class of 2023 in the Student Senate. When asked what his favorite aspect of Saint Anselm College was, Eric referenced the small community atmosphere the school prides itself on. He also discussed the general kindness of the student body, and what he observed to be a constant willingness and passion to help others.
When asked about his goals for the year, Eric answered by saying that though he had been on campus for only a few weeks, and still had a great deal to learn about the issues students at Saint Anselm face, he was optimistic about the prospects of the upcoming Senate term. His goal is to focus mainly on supporting his class while taking a more supportive role on larger campus issues. He stated, “You don’t have to be the top dog to get things done,” and explained that he hopes to solicit the help of his upperclassmen peers in SGA for advice and guidance throughout the upcoming term.
Eric emphasized the importance of transparency, and stated that he would work to make sure he was available to his peers and always maintained a clear and open mind when considering votes within the Senate. Eric’s open-minded philosophy could be seen through the emphasis he placed on being a Senator who represented his constituency well and was always looking to “hear what other people have to say,” in order to make informed and conscientious decisions.
One issue facing the Class of 2023, as it has faced every class at Saint Anselm College, is how to engage with their peers and encourage student participation. Eric addressed this issue by saying that students were currently not engaged enough to care, and that more student involvement would then foster a stronger sense of community and the ability to change things on the hilltop. He questioned why it was that students were not as involved as they should be with student affairs on campus, and asked: “Do people have something to say and are they afraid to say it?”
When asked how he thought the issue of student engagement and participation could be solved, he pointed to public outreach. Eric acknowledged the low student turnout at campaign speeches and raised the concern that perhaps SGA was partially to blame. He argued that student engagement was not necessarily an issue of apathy, but rather poor marketing and communication. He echoed sentiments made by other candidates for the establishment of a social media outreach coordinator. Eric said, “This is our college experience […] we have to get our say out there.” He called for SGA to take a bigger role in the lives of students on campus, and he recommended that this start with increasing transparency and communication.
A concern of Eric’s was his relatively simple path towards winning the election, which he saw not as a benefit, but a major issue. Due to the fact the Eric and fellow candidate Ben Mickens were the only two Freshmen to run for four open Senate seats, it is all but certain that they will win their election. When speaking about his class voting on Monday and Tuesday, he said: “I’m a senator whether they like it or not, and that’s not a good thing”. He said that he and the other class officers would look to fill their open Senate seats as soon as possible.
Eric also spoke of his ambitions to become a NHIOP ambassador, and he said that he viewed his open schedule as a positive which allowed him to devote a great deal of his time and energy to Student Government. He said that he was passionate about helping his class succeed and strengthening SGA, and he added that “As long as you’re passionate about something, you should take it as far as you can.”
Eric O’Connor is one of two candidates running to be a Class of 2023 Senator. Voting will be held Monday and Tuesday in Davison Hall and C-Shop.