Communication, Participation Become Key Issues In Freshman Elections

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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Change Is Ahead: Favazza Takes Office

It isn’t often that a student body takes a sincerely invested interest in the formation of their school’s administration. Students largely concern themselves with their day-to-day lives: their classes, their social experiences, paying for tuition, et cetera. This isn’t to say that the average student is wholly apathetic towards their school admin, which would be untrue. If you are preoccupied with daily tasks, why concern yourself with someone you rarely see?

As I have been consistently reminded of, Saint Anselm College is not an average college, and does not produce average citizens. Its students are acutely and equally aware of what happens around the world as they are in their own backyard. And, as far as many Saint Anselm students were concerned, their backyard had seen better days.

Mass layoffs. Inadequate housing . Rising costs. Where was the administration last year when we raised our concerns? We still don’t know-the word on the tongues of Saint Anselm students with reference to the previous administration was invisible. Inaccessible. Untransparent. Frustrating. This bevy of words and more were used by students to express a simple reality: President Stephen DiSalvo wasn’t there for us when we needed him. 

This is not an article about the previous administration, but rather, the new one. It’s only fair to know, first, what is new about the new administration. If a lack of transparency and accessibility concerned you last year, as it did this author, have faith in this: change is ahead.

When I reached out to President Favazza to schedule an interview, I expected to wait a few days for a response. Understandably so-the beginning of the year is easily the busiest time of year, especially for a brand new executive. I received my response within 24 hours. This was my first indication that change was on the horizon. 

President Favazza has never been the president of a higher learning institution, but this does not mean he is without administrative experience. He was previously the Provost as well as the Vice President of Academic Affairs at Stonehill College. It was during his oversight that Stonehill undertook the official division of its academic programming into two schools, the May School of Arts and Sciences, and the Meehan School of Business. Before his duties as Provost and VP of Academic Affairs, President Favazza served as Dean of General Education and Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs.

In addition to his experience at Stonehill, Favazza was a Professor of Religious Studies at Rhodes College in Memphis. He also oversaw the “Search For Values” program, which was the core curriculum at Rhodes. 

When I entered the president’s office, he and his executive assistant Janet (who was instrumental in expediting the interview-many thanks to her) were warm and welcoming. Upon entering a closed room, I remember President Favazza’s expression- one of anticipation. This anticipatory gaze wasn’t out of fear, but later manifested itself as eagerness. 

President Favazza is aware of the difficult spot he has filled. I opened by asking him: what do you want to say to the Saint Anselm College community? In giving him the opportunity to take the lead, I saw that President Favazza is not a man on an island. He extolled the virtues of the staff, the administration, and the professors without whom, he said, success would be impossible. 

It is not difficult to seem sageworthy and wise when speaking about those around you, however. I asked what he would do, specifically, to further engage the student body and to do what his predecessor failed to do: be seen by students. He opened with classic examples: attending student sporting events, class events, et cetera, et cetera. One thing he did mention, was a “breakfast with the president” where he would be at Davison Hall once or twice a month and students would be free to sit and chat with him.

That was all good-of course, but Saint Anselm students will not be assuaged by promises and oaths. They demand accountability and action. It is because of this, that I was so pleased to see President Favazza hold a meet and greet in the Intercultural Center this past week. Kudos to you, President Favazza, for holding your word, and holding to it early. 

Our conversation ebbed and flowed, but he was never evasive. He did his best to answer questions squarely, no matter the difficulty of their subject matter. He referenced the perceived antiquity of the monastic community, that some students believe holds back the potential of the school. He retorted with a reminder that Saint Anselm is a bastion of tradition: a tradition that upholds virtues of compassion, service, and sacrifice.

The students of 2019 face unique challenges to those of college students from previous generations. It is not an uncommon feeling amongst this generation that older generations are unsympathetic towards the extra anxiety and stresses we feel as college students in this day and age. I asked President Favazza what he found to be the most difficult challenges facing Saint Anselm College. As opposed to naming a college-specific issue, Favazza was keen to this anxiety, proclaiming the added cost of college to be his first challenge facing Saint Anselm. 

This sensitivity may result from a unique perspective: President Favazza was a first generation college student. When I asked him about how this influenced his approach as president, he responded with a reminder to be compassionate. Not having the same support system as students with parents who went to college was a challenge he experienced. As a result of this, he spoke to the importance of having a strong college advisory infrastructure to assist students who needed it. Such a sympathetic approach might prove to be constructive in this current era of college finance anxiety.

On a personal note, his experience as a first-gen college student gave him what he called a “personal resiliency” that “tried to take advantage of disadvantage”. Such an attitude would be surely welcomed at Saint Anselm. Anselmians don’t get going when the going gets tough. 

It would not have been a fruitful conversation had we not discussed housing. Everyone on this campus knows someone in a forced triple. That should be considered a categorical failure to accommodate for growing class sizes. Thankfully, despite being fresh on the job, the moment I mentioned the word “housing”, President Favazza responded with a nod of understanding. “It’s not ideal to have so many forced triples” was his immediate response. While he was noncommittal to saying that the college would build a new dorm, President Favazza did clearly state that he wanted to look into the potential of building one, as well as wanting to improve on our already existing dorms (as I write this, Saint Mary’s Hall flooded and was without running water for at least one day due to a burst pipe-a repeat of an issue from last winter that displaced three students). 

In conjunction with the discussion surrounding housing, many students have decried the construction of the new welcome center for the department of admissions as misguided, as they feel that the most pressing infrastructure need for the student body is a new residence hall. I asked him about the multi-million dollar project, and received a similar response. While, again, the current housing situation wasn’t “ideal”, the new welcome center was not without merit. “The school needs new students to live on,” he said, further noting that many other schools that Saint Anselm competes with for admissions have their own welcome centers. It will now be a question as to whether or not the new students pulled in by the welcome center will have a place to live on campus. However, once again Favazza couldn’t commit to any upcoming dormitory building projects.

This response didn’t surprise me-most major infrastructure projects undertaken by the college need to get through the Board of Trustees first. The Trustees themselves are a sensitive subject; they operate outside the jurisdiction of the school, and are not held accountable by the student body. They also aren’t held accountable by the professors or deanships. 

What if this were different? What if the most powerful body in the college had a student representative? This idea has been tossed around the Student Government Association for some time now- to no avail (clearly). President Favazza had an interesting take on this situation: at the institutions he previously worked at there was not a permanent student seat on the board of trustees, but there was a temporary seat for a student representative for special meetings and retreats of the board. He expressed an interest in the potential to implement a similar system at Saint Anselm.

President Favazza expressed interest in many things that sounded fantastic. Other than what has already been mentioned, he discussed adding new undergraduate programs, increasing study abroad opportunities, as well as the potentiality of a “J-Term”, a shortened academic term in January that’d give students an opportunity to study a class or two outside of their major requirements. Middlebury College in Vermont employs their J-Term with great success. 

All of that sounds good in theory, but where President Favazza needs to separate himself from his predecessor, is by fulfilling promises, listening to students, and being there for us.

I was incredibly grateful for the opportunity to listen to President Favazza. I sincerely hope it won’t be the last time the two of us sit together. I also sincerely hope that now that I’ve taken the time to listen to him, he will take the time to listen to us.

Boris Johnson elected UK Prime Minister

Boris Johnson was announced to become the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom yesterday. The former Foreign Secretary and Mayor of London was voted on by 66% of the small electorate that attended the Conservative Party Leadership ballot.

Johnson takes office following former Prime Minister Theresa May’s resignation after her failure to secure a Brexit deal. Her resignation announcement didn’t trigger a nation-wide vote, but rather a vote amongst party members to pick their new leader- who would then become the de-facto Prime Minister. Theresa May, despite displaying impressive stamina in the face of insurmountable political challenge, announced her impending retirement May 24th

The vote was carried out by only attending members of the Conservative Party, meaning that this vote amongst just under 160,000 people will have ramifications for the island nation of 66 million. Johnson edged out current Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt 92,153 votes to 46,656.

The vote has been received by many as a rebuke of the tempered, emotionless approach former PM May took towards the Brexit negotiations. Boris Johnson is famously bombastic, articulate, and at times, bellicose. It is because of this that the bleach-blonde haired future MP has drawn many comparisons to US President Donald Trump. Following Johnson’s victory on Tuesday, Trump posted a congratulatory tweet, saying Johnson would “do great.”

Boris Johnson will take over the office facing immediate scrutiny, both over his lack of a public mandate, as well as his at times abrasive behavior. It is hoped that his firebrand ways will push a Brexit deal forward, however, he has stated that by October 31st, the UK will leave the European Union with or without a deal. 

Questions remain about whether or not the new Prime Minister will have much of a government to work with: several Conservative MP’s have declared that they will resign when Johnson takes power, including Foreign Office Minister Alan Duncan, the UK Skills and Work minister, the Secretary of State for Internal Development, the Justice Chancellor, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, a position usually seen as being in the direct line for the Premiership.

Johnson’s leadership opens up one possibility these MP’s are seeking to avoid: a No-Deal Brexit. MP’s and other government officials warn that the UK could be headed for economic and diplomatic chaos should the United Kingdom leave with no deal.

The UK’s membership in the European Union intertwined a myriad of the UK’s government with the EU, making disentanglement difficult. This is because many fundamental aspects of the UK government, trade, taxes, regulations, and immigration policies, have become deeply enmeshed with the European Union. To this point, the UK’s biggest struggle is negotiating out a new trade deal with the EU. Boris Johnson’s premiership also opens up the option for his foreign trade policy to be in line with that of President Trump – a consistent supporter of selective, at times predatory trade policies.

More concerningly is the transition of power in a time where the United Kingdom and Iran are embattled over an Iranian seizure of a British Oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz last week. Iran has reached out to Johnson, saying they don’t want confrontation, but they will protect their borders, including their territory out at sea. Critics have been troubled by the potentiality of Johnson’s rise, saying his record on international relations has been weak and limited. Historically, Johnson has been a leader on the homefront; time will tell if he is well equipped enough to tackle these foreign diplomacy challenges.

Speaking to a crowd of supporters and detractors alike in front of 10 Downing Street for the first time as Prime Minister, Johnson claimed that he would create for the United Kingdom, “A new deal, a better deal” in relation to the European Union. Alongside remarks regarding Brexit, he promised increased funding for the British National Health Service, building plans for twenty new hospitals, as well as subsidies for the British agricultural sector, amongst a series of other domestic policies.

Facing both the Iranian crisis as well as Brexit – it’s quite possible to say that Boris Johnson faces the most immediate and pressing challenges by any Prime Minister since Winston Churchill. Time will tell if the future Prime Minister’s firebrand attitude and abrasive oratory will come to the benefit of the British people, or if it will bring them into the new decade an international pariah, as new leaders can so often do to once bright nations.

The Dire Need for More Dorms on Campus

For students at Saint Anselm College, the housing lottery is a time of unneeded stress, worry, and most of all uncertainty. As my classmates and I, all rising sophomores at Saint A’s attended the housing lottery on Wednesday, April 10, we soon began to see that the housing issue on campus is far more inefficient and inadequate than it first appeared to be. As soon as we took our seats in Sullivan Arena, the administration of the college informed us that the majority of us in the stands would not receive a room that night, as all dorms are currently filled at this point. Sure enough, this was the brutal and unacceptable truth, as all rooms were occupied by the time we reached lottery numbers in the 1100s (out of 1470).

It now stands as fact that at least 60 sophomore boys are on a waitlist for housing. Not a waitlist for a certain dorm. Not a waitlist for an apartment. A waitlist to receive a stand-alone, double room for the next school year. The solution presented to us by the administration is that they are relying on students to transfer, study abroad, or relocate around campus in order to accommodate the 60 students on a waitlist for a room. As if this was not an insult to the students already. Speaking for me, my parents and I sacrificed greatly for me to attend my dream school, being Saint Anselm College. I spent my whole senior year applying for scholarships to help offset the cost of college, working hard in high school to achieve great grades, and overall working at least 30 hours a week during the summer to try and pay for school. As it stands, we are all currently paying $14,750 to live on campus.

I am paying $14,750 for the administration of the school to say that there are no rooms available anymore. I was told that at the beginning of the housing lottery that in order to live on campus, I should really consider an incentive triple. To be told that I will be placed in housing eventually and that the school doesn’t have the capacity to house everyone forces this to be an unacceptable issue, and it has reached a point where it is not okay. What the school is doing to their students is insincere, and most of all deceitful to those of us who were promised to live with our class. We are the heart of why Saint Anselm is still operating today. Without prioritizing students, without fulfilling promises to them, the reputation of Saint Anselm College is being severely damaged by the apparent lack of transparency of where there are problems on campus.

I remember when I toured here that Saint Anselm was known for keeping their classes together, for fostering a sense of community, and for being a small school where everyone looks out for each other and supports one another. But by telling rising sophomores that they do not have housing for the next school year yet and will be placed depending on when space becomes available, is disappointing and directly attacks the values of community, transparency, and respect at this school.

It has come to the point where some students are now considering transferring schools because of the lack of that has been given to us with this housing crisis on campus. Furthermore, it appears as if there are no active efforts to build more dorm buildings for the future. In fact, the goal of this school right now is to expand our student body and promote the college with increasing class sizes by the year. However, Saint Anselm cannot keep over-admitting students. We simply do not have the capacity to hold any more students, and the fact that this mistake is still being made without effort to build more housing is discouraging and upsetting to the student body.

Furthermore, it also concerns me and many others that the college’s priorities lie in the construction of a “Welcome Center” to attract new students to the school. Why are we spending money on a welcome center when we cannot house all students on campus at the current moment? Why are we allocating funds from the budget towards the construction of a building that will not have any effect on the housing crisis on campus? If this college wants to expand, they need to have the facilities and resources to do so. A welcome center is clearly not a necessity for current students who are attending and paying tuition to keep the college running as normal.

As I walk around campus, it is clear that students are frustrated with the lack of support the school is giving them. It seems as if we are not the school’s first priority, we are not being treated fairly, and most of all we are not receiving what we were promised when enrolling as freshmen. This situation is not only disappointing, but it will begin to reflect very poorly on the school’s reputation.

The only solution to this current crisis is to build more housing. Invest the money into a new dorm, invest the money into new apartments for juniors and seniors, and then Saint Anselm’s goal of increasing the size of the school will be realistic and achievable. Investing in the future of this school is constructing more capacity to house current students. This is a crisis that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. To the students, there are no more excuses as to why action is not being taken. We need what we were promised, and if we do not receive that, the consequences for the school will be detrimental.

Kerrin Norton ’19: Student of the Year

The Hilltopper chose to recognize one student who contributed greatly to the campus climate over the last year. Much in the vain of TIME Magazine‘s Person of the Year, our Student of the Year is meant to represent the student who, throughout 2018, contributed most significantly to the events at the college.


Kerrin Norton ’19 is The Hilltopper‘s choice for Student of the Year. (Photo courtesy of Kerrin Norton ’19)

On May 18, 2019, Kerrin Norton ‘19 will graduate from Saint Anselm College with a B.A. in Communications and English. She will also depart the Hilltop after leaving an indelible mark on this community that she cares so much about. Norton is a leader whose work for the student body at Saint Anselm College advances the value of learning – learning from experience, learning from peers, and learning through listening. In a year marked by profiles in courage, like Andrew Keyes ‘18 coming out of the closet as a Knight of Columbus, various staff members approaching The Hilltopper anonymously and on the record to speak about layoffs over the summer, and Matt Solomon ‘20 organizing a pride event and standing up for LGBTQ+ rights, Norton’s experience shows there remains value in effecting social change through existing institutions.

“I don’t even know why I applied here,” she told The Hilltopper when asked about the path that brought her to Saint A’s. When she visited campus, the future Admissions Ambassador fully intended to go to school outside of New England, but when she toured here she was struck by how the people described their relationships. She came to view Saint Anselm as a place to make lifelong friendships, and so she decided she’d just come here instead.

When she moved in freshman year, Norton figured she would transfer after her first semester, but around the third week, she was lying in bed when she realized she hadn’t cried yet like she’d anticipated. Huh, she thought to herself, before plunging into four years of heavy involvement on campus. She never even downloaded the transfer applications she once intended to complete.

“I got involved right away,” she said, “because in high school I waited too long. I challenged myself to get involved in one thing right away. So that was SGA for me.” From there, Norton’s work on her class council snowballed into becoming Chief of Staff for the Hughes/Ethier Administration, the third-highest-ranking position in the student government. She was also on the New Student Orientation Committee this past year and serves as the President of Saint Elizabeth Seton Society, the Senior Class Gift Committee, and as a Service & Solidarity trip leader.

Campus Accessibility & Presidential Search

Her titles do not tell the full story. Her work in these various capacities paints the picture of a tireless advocate – a happy warrior – dedicated to improving life at Saint Anselm College. Most significantly, she has been consistently working on improving handicap accessibility on campus. For Kerrin, the issue is personal. Her brother Own is a junior in high school and is in a wheelchair. She says that she remembers getting to Saint A’s and recognizing that the campus was not accessible for handicapped people.

Norton holds a deep love for Saint Anselm. When The Hilltopper asked why she is so committed to working on improving campus, she said, “I love it here, and I want everyone to love it. I don’t want there to be a reason why anyone wouldn’t love it.” Similarly, she explained that she would hate for handicapped students to miss out on the Saint Anselm experience because they use a wheelchair. “I wouldn’t want anyone to not be able to come because of the size of a doorway,” she explained. She went on to talk about when her brother would visit campus. “Not being able to share so much of campus because there isn’t a ramp doesn’t do this place justice,” she said.

Change at Saint Anselm College often comes slowly and exacting tangible victories through the Student Government Association can often leave students more frustrated and disappointed than content and successful. Such is not the case for Norton, who was joined by Tim Merrill ‘19, former SGA president and vice president Emma Bishop ‘18 and Brandon Pratt ‘18, and incumbents Joshua Hughes ‘20 and Jacob Ethier ‘20.

Next year, Dominic Hall will receive a significant amount of money in the next budget to be renovated. As Norton explained, “It’s not hospitality if someone can’t get into a building.” In the next year or so, the school will add a ramp to Dominic with a swipe entrance. As of now, a handicapped freshman boy would be placed in the Living Learning Commons whereas a freshman girl could be placed in Baroody and still be with other first-year students.

Because of Norton’s diligent work on handicap accessibility and other issues, the college administration selected her to represent the student body on the Presidential Search Committee. Norton said that being named to the committee is her greatest accomplishment as a student. She is humbled by the chance to be a voice for her fellow students.

As Norton explained what she thinks she can bring to the committee, a guiding virtue of her work emerged. In answering questions about the search committee, about her efforts on handicap accessibility, and on other issues, it became clear that for Kerrin Norton, being a leader is about being a good learner. It is about listening to students and advancing their beliefs. When asked what she hopes to see in the next college president, she was clear about her role, “I am looking for what I am hearing everyone else is looking for. As awesome as it is, I wasn’t selected for my opinions. I am a representative of the students’ concerns.”

What is she hearing? Norton said that most people want a president who is more present on campus and who gets to know students individually. “Community is a Benedictine hallmark, so we want to uphold that about our institution,” she explained.

A Guiding Value: Learning

Perhaps more than any other reason, her remarkable impact on campus has been made possible by her willingness to learn about the school and learn about how to implement change. When asked what her various roles have taught her, she replied, “Oh my gosh. So much. Literally so much. Where do I even begin?”

She fidgeted in her seat. Played with her hair a little bit. Looked around a nearly-empty coffee shop. Then, she answered succinctly, “I’ve learned to learn more by listening.” She hit the point over and over, continuing, “I think what I’ve really learned so much is how to be a good listener because I feel so blessed that I’ve had such an awesome experience here, but my experience is so different from yours or the people sitting over there. Through trying to increase handicap accessibility, I’ve learned how other people are excluded on campus.”

While she has been a champion of learning from her peers, Norton’s desire to effect change comes from an even more humbling experience. At Relay for Life, Norton opened up about losing her mom to cancer. The memory of her mom guides her to focus on the things that bring her joy – like helping others and improving the school. “When my mom passed away, she wished she’d spent more time with friends. I was a really focused student before she passed away,” Norton explained, “and life is so short – it’s just so short. You should do the things that make you happy.” For Norton, that means listening to her peers and fighting to make a difference.

Kerrin Norton ’19 speaking at Relay for Life. (Photo courtesy of Norton)

When prospective families ask her why she stayed at Saint Anselm College, Norton dons a smile and delivers a heartfelt answer, “I feel so privileged to be a part of a community that so many others feel lucky to be a part of. I think a lot of students feel that way, and if they don’t, I want them to be able to feel that way.”

Indeed, she has dedicated much of her free time at Saint Anselm to organizing events that all students can enjoy, addressing inequalities for handicapped people, and bringing the concerns of students to Alumni Hall. In true Kerrin Norton form, however, the humble example of student greatness was candid about what she wishes she had done more of while here. “I wish I’d done more service,” she said, as if her work on campus wasn’t enough. “Like a weekly commitment through Meelia. I overlapped with Meelia, but I never fully immersed myself in the way I wanted.” More service, Norton says.

She also recognized that her socioeconomic and racial backgrounds and her sexual orientation precluded her from immediately jumping into larger issues of inequality. Through the facilitated dialogue program, Norton learned more about the struggles facing those communities on campus. When the conversation turned to these issues, she grew quiet – a more reserved version of the Kerrin Norton who bubbled over with excitement as she explained her work on other issues. “I am a big proponent of inclusion, and I focused on one important aspect of it, but I wish I had been an earlier and more aggressive ally for those communities that need attention.” In her last semester, Norton said she is fully committing herself to be a better ally for those communities.

Strength from Others

From left to right: Maggie O’Connor ’19, Abbie Reynolds’ 19, Nick Richard ’19, and Kerrin Norton ’19. All four served on the Orientation Committee. (Photo courtesy of Norton)

While one may believe that Norton is a superwoman, and to some degree she is, she does not gather her strength alone. She mentioned her affinity for Dean of Students Alicia Finn, whom, she said, she “really aspire[s] to be like.” She continued, “Dean Finn inspires me every day.”

She also pointed to three friends who help her stay energized. Abbie Nolan ‘19, Maggie O’Connor ‘19, and Abbie Reynolds ‘19 all keep Norton on track. “I found their friendship by being involved in things we were working on together,” she said. “That’s such a special bond. They push themselves to be better and they’re role models to me because I see their passion and that inspires me to do better.”

“When the seniors graduated last year,” Norton said, “I was sad because so many good role models for me had graduated, but I realized I had role models all around me still.” These role models inspire Norton to keep up the work that demands so much of her time.

It would have been easy for Norton to spend her days in bed, binging on Netflix shows and reading novels or going to the coffee shop to socialize with friends. She was honest in saying she has plenty of days like this. However, so much of Kerrin Norton’s three-and-a-half years have been spent building a better campus community. In 2018, she overcame the odds of a perilous budget season to secure funds for a more inclusive campus, she helped organize an orientation weekend that welcomed one of the college’s largest classes in history, and she diligently worked to realize various SGA initiatives. In 2019, she will have more of an impact on campus than any other student could, by being in the room where it happens and helping select the next President of the College.

Early in the interview, Norton claimed she peaked in high school. Fortunately, for Saint Anselm College, she was wrong.

Meet the Candidates: Aidan Pierce ’22, Senate

Aidan Pierce ’22 is running for SGA Senate. (Photo courtesy of Pierce)

Aidan Pierce comes to Saint Anselm after a lot of hard work. He’s been raised by a single father, whom he cares for deeply, and from an early age accepted that getting a job and helping support the family was just something you had to do. He says that his childhood, “taught me to respect where your dollar goes.”

To an extent, this respect for a dollar has influenced his run for the Student Government Association. Like Jackson Peck ’22, a fellow candidate for SGA Senate, Pierce believes that the College should be more transparent with its budget. He notes, however, that while he supports a more transparency, he does not believe that the budget is “malleable” for students. He argued that just because a student is paying the college doesn’t mean they have a consistent say in how those dollars are spent.

He firmly believes that Saint Anselm students should recognize that they “subscribed to a community” by enrolling at the College. With that comes a need to respect the tradition of the school.

Because of his respect for the history and values of the school, Pierce broke with his fellow Senate candidates on the controversial issue of contraceptives for students. He doesn’t believe that the school should be forced to distribute something that is clearly at odds with its values.

When asked where the line should be drawn between an open and diverse community and one that honors the teachings of the Catholic Church, Pierce created his own test. He would support groups, like T.E.D.A., that are “not offensive or antagonistic to the Catholic mission.” Pierce says he is a part of T.E.D.A., and he would have voted for the club’s approval had he been in the Senate last year.

Instead, Pierce is deeply concerned with the environment and intends to spend his time as a senator writing policies that makes campus greener and lessens its environmental impact. He believes he can make a lot of headway on the issue, bringing senators from all classes together to affect change.

“I feel like that’s going to be a universally agreed upon thing,” he said of his ideas for making the Hilltop more environmentally friendly. He hopes to bring composting to Davison Hall and improve access to recycling and trash disposal around campus.

In addition to pursuing a run for the Student Government Association, Pierce is a member of Ultimate Frisbee and College Republicans. He also has an off-campus job.

Voting is on Wednesday, September 19th and Thursday, September 20th.

Meet the Candidates: Brendan Joyce ’22, Vice President

Brendan Joyce ’22, right, with his sister, Rowan ’19, left. (Photo courtesy of Joyce)

The first question of the interview nearly stumped Brendan Joyce. When asked to name his favorite book, the candidate for freshman class vice president was overwhelmed by the seemingly limitless possibilities of books he’d consumed in his 18 years. He finally settled on The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, confirming it was a “great book!”

He’s the 10th member of the Joyce family to come to Saint Anselm College. His sister, Rowan ’19, is known for her drawing talent, but Brendan has his own talent. He’s a guitar player and singer whose go-to is “Self Control” by Frank Ocean.

Being familiar with Saint A’s hasn’t stopped Joyce from having some big ideas about the college’s future. He has some specific policy goals, like extending intervisitation an extra hour on weekdays. It seems to be the proposal most likely to succeed, he says, because desk workers are already working the 11-12 hour on weeknights.

Joyce has joined other freshmen SGA candidates in calling for more trash bins on campus. Increased access to trash bins is an issue that SGA has long thought about addressing, but it has been repeatedly stymied by the cost of the project. The bear-resistant trash cans on campus are expensive.

On the issue that has generated buzz throughout the freshman class, access to contraceptives, Joyce admitted he doesn’t know where he stands. He made clear he “doesn’t want to go against the student body” but admitted that starting off their careers at Saint Anselm by asking for easy access to contraceptives may not be the best first impression for the members of the Class of 2022. He says he’s happy to let Kate Shubert ’22, candidate for Senate, lead the charge on the issue and serve in a supporting role.

Before running, Joyce thought about how he could best serve his class. He originally intended to run for class president, but he believes he’ll be a better fit as vice president because of the role’s focus on policy issues. In addition to intervisitation and trash cans, Joyce is hoping to bring air conditioners to common spaces in dormitories around campus.

Joyce’s big goal is bringing a fountain to campus. He’s ready to lead the charge on fundraising, and he’s already got a design in mind: a Saint Anselm statue in the middle of a pool with water streams shooting into the base. Don’t worry though, he was careful to mention that the water would not stream over the statue.

His most controversial position, however, may be that he shies away from the buffalo chicken at C-Shop. He says it just hurts his mouth sometimes.

Voters in the freshman class will have to weigh Joyce’s big ideas and decide whether to elect him their vice president. There is one other student running for the position.

Brendan’s opponent, Tyler Cullen ’22, did not return The Hilltopper’s request for an interview.

Voting is Wednesday, September 19 and Thursday, September 20.

Meet the Candidates: Jackson Peck ’22, Senate

Jackson Peck ’22 is running for SGA Senate. (Photo courtesy of Peck)

Showing up to the interview in a Ringelstein for Senate t-shirt, Jackson Peck wears his liberal ideas on his sleeve – literally. His favorite book is Our Revolution by Bernie Sanders and, like the former presidential candidate, he feels like those with the power should be more transparent. Sanders was talking about the billionaires on Wall Street. Peck is talking about the administrators on the first floor of Alumni Hall.

“I know as a senator I don’t have any real authority to craft the budget,” Peck said. “What I do want though is more transparency…” He wants more updated budget information publicly accessible to the student body, saying that few things are as important as students knowing where their money goes.

It’s a big goal, but Peck is confident that senators from the Class of 2022 will be able to make a real impact because they are unified on the important issues affecting their class and the school. He pointed to Kate Shubert’s proposal for bringing contraceptives to campus as one such issue, noting that all of the candidates are on the same page when it comes to the issue.

Peck came for the Transitions program and pointed to the fact that students took a two-hour alcohol course where they were taught to “maximize their buzz.” While Saint Anselm College may be willing to address underage drinking, it remains unwilling to acknowledge premarital sex.

As Peck explained, he received a 15-minute sex education course while at Transitions. Sex education at orientation was even more wanting, Peck said. The class was shown the “tea video” that addresses sexual assault and another longer movie about a domestic abuser who kills his girlfriend.

According to Peck, he wasn’t the only one who was surprised by this. He and his friends, including those running for Senate with him, talked about it more before he decided to follow up. When he went to Health Services, he was told there was no access to contraceptives.

While he knows it is an uphill battle, Peck thinks it’s important for the Student Government Association to take on the issues students care about. He noted that there was plenty of time for smaller, less important issues. For example, he says, the SGA spent their opening meetings discussing uniforms. Peck showed an excitement to address real policy issues, like transparency, sexual education, and recycling.

Peck has wasted no time getting accustomed to Saint Anselm. When he’s not campaigning you can find him at a College Democrats meeting or eating a buffalo chicken calzone at c-shop.

Peck is one of four candidates for Senate in the freshman class. They are running for four open Senate seats.

Voting is Wednesday, September 19 and Thursday, September 20.