Meet the Candidates: Sean Bentley ’22, President

Sean Bentley ’22, seen here in his iconinc fedora, is running for class president. (Photo by Nick Fulchino ’19)

Sean Bentley is a Politics major from Milton, Massachusetts, a town about 5 miles south of Boston. He can be identified around campus as the young man with the fedora, which he has made his calling card during the campaign. He was twice named Most Likely to Be President of the United States and believes that it is a strong example of his leadership skills, as is the successful backpack and school supply drive he organized in high school.

One of the main jobs of the Class President, he said, is “to keep order and keep a fun attitude and motive people when times are low.” He cited his high-level of personal organization and his propensity towards observation as keys to his being a successful class president.

He’s running for president because he believes he can “make more of an impact there than anywhere else.” The largest plank of Sean’s campaign platform is reform to the College’s policy of intervisitation. He believes that the policy needs to be rolled back gradually over an extended period of time, beginning with the beginning of intervisitation hours two hours earlier and ending two hours later each evening and culminating with the end of the policy. He acknowledges that this would be a big change and said, “I do want to discuss it in a committee, such a radical change, and start off small before we go big.” He argues that there are several reasons to alter the intervisitation policy, “There are some people who need comfort and companionship. I think it’s an antiquated policy. The Catholic Church itself is reforming and I think it’s time we’ve reformed.” Sean said he plans to work with the vice president and the class senators to implement these changes.

To build unity among the class and raise funds for Junior Formal, senior package, and other expenses, Sean has a few ideas. One is to use the resources of Dining Services to host bake sales to raise funds for the class. Another is to have a karaoke night in the Coffee Shop, similar to those that are put on by Orientation Leaders during the first-year Orientation Program, to foster a spirit of camaraderie among the class. Sean also proposed a “fair that could attract some non-St. A’s students and bring more money to campus” as well as attract the larger Manchester community to campus.

Sean pointed to the renowned Department of Politics and the NHIOP as deciding factors in his choice to come to Saint Anselm College. He also spoke highly of Dining Services, saying “I’m…a big foodaholic as well, so, considering St. A’s has one of the top 8, top 10 food programs in the country, that was a big factor.”

Saint Anselm College is only about an hour-and-a-half from his home, so it’s close enough to be “local” while still retaining its independence. His favorite order at the Coffee Shop is orange sherbet ice cream with a Raspberry Lime Rickey with Sierra Mist.

If you pass Sean on campus, he is sure to raise his fedora and say his catchphrase, “hat’s off to you.”

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

Meet the Candidates: Trevor Nelson ’22, President

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Trevor Nelson ’22 is running for class president. (Photo courtesy of Nelson)

Trevor Nelson is a Politics major from Kennebunk, Maine. He cites a lifelong interest in politics as a reason why he’s running for President of the Class of 2022, saying that “naturally, the two, hand in hand, kind of go.” He wants to be someone that the class can look up to and, in some way, shape or form the Class of 2022’s future. He hopes that the campaign process will be a strong way to build bonds within the class and that conversations about the issues the class is passionate about will, hopefully, lead to friendships.

Trevor personally disagrees with the College’s intervisitation policy but understands that “more than anything else, we’re at a Catholic school with monks on campus…who have set these standards for us.” He acknowledged that the Class of 2022 is not the first freshman class on campus to take issue with the policy but argues that it is a unifier among the class as it is something many students are passionate about.

He also expressed support for keeping the campus green and clean, advocating for increased recycling and trash receptacles around campus, especially near the entryway to Dominic Hall. Trevor also pointed out that the campus uses “a lot of water” to keep the ground looking as good as it does.

He has been vocal about joining the Saint Anselm College Democrats but doesn’t think that that will risk alienation of his classmates in the campaign. “I think I can be openminded. I think the school itself is pretty conservative in the nature of its policies but I think you have a really active student body, not just from a liberal or Democratic side but also from a conservative side.” He stressed the importance of giving everyone a voice in the Class of 2022 and on campus.

Trevor chose Saint Anselm College over several other schools in New England. He cited the Politics program as a deciding factor, saying “It’s so hard, when you come here, to not be impressed by the NHIOP and all the courses they offer.” The College is also about an hour and a half from his home, which he described as “a good enough distance to be away but still close enough.” It was the first school he visited last fall during his college search and it stuck with him the most over the four or five other schools he looked at.

His go-to order at the Coffee Ship is a cheese calzone, “countered with one of the fruit or veggie cups” available near the register, probably with an iced tea.

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

Meet the Candidates: David Chairez ’22, President

David Chairez ’22 is running for freshman class president. (Photo courtesy of Chairez)

David Chairez is a Politics major and Philosophy minor from Los Angeles, California. He said the transition from one of America’s largest cities to the Granite State “has been great so far” but worries that may change once the weather changes and it gets colder. He said a big part of the transition has been his roommates, who “have been so helpful.”

He drew on his background in California, a melting pot of cultures and backgrounds, to come up with his desire to see a campus more united and more diverse. “It’s a thing of trying to encourage people to just be themselves,” he said “Be [whatever] culture they’re from…whatever you consider yourself to be…” He went on, “Don’t be afraid to show who you truly are.” David wants Saint Anselm College to be a safe space to show one’s true colors.

In high school, David was a member of the Associated Student Body, which is similar to a Student Government Association. Senior year, he was Class President and played a key role in raising funds for prom and dances, as well as organizing volunteers at football games and working with his high school’s Campus Ministry program. In an effort to involve the community with Saint Anselm College, David proposes holding a fair or carnival on campus. “I’m sure there’s a lot of money that goes into it,” he said on the topic of a fair, “But there’s also a lot of money we could get out of it.”

On the ongoing Class of 2022 debate over intervisitation, David said the discussion “only shows the times we’re getting into with younger generations coming into college.” He said he is fully supportive of ending the policy of intervisitation but recognized that it is going to be difficult because “we are a Catholic school and we do have those beliefs.” The process of change would go through the Monastic community and require something “not too aggressive but that shows that it is something that means a lot to us.”

He chose Saint Anselm College when he visited in April. He was looking for “a small school with that intimate relationship with professors and with other students.” He didn’t want to get lost in the crowd at a big school. David said that he knew Saint Anselm College was the place for him immediately upon arriving at the Hilltop “with that sense of family.” He said he knew it “would be difficult leaving California but, at the same time, it will be best for me to grow more as a person.” His favorite class is the freshman humanities course Conversatio, which is a very Anselmian course in its nature.

Although he is a New York Yankees fan, David said he would take off his Yankees hat when the Boston Red Sox win the 2018 World Series. His go-to order at the Coffee Shop is the buffalo chicken dip.

Meet the Candidates: Gina Gagliardi ’22, President

Gina Gagliardi ’22 is running for freshman class president. (Photo courtesy of Gagliardi)

Gina Gagliardi is a Nursing major from Somerset, Massachusetts, near Fall River. Her campaign slogan is “The girl with the smile will go the extra mile.” Immediately upon meeting her, it is clear why. Her smile, ear to ear, is hugely infectious.

She said she didn’t have any intentions to run for Student Government but, after arriving on campus, was persuaded by one of her new friends. She said she would have run for any of the positions and the presidency is just the one that fit the best because her goal is to “make St. A’s a better place and make everyone happy.”

She stressed the importance of having “fun fundraisers.” When asked for examples, she supplied several, including a campus scavenger hunt. Most of the prizes, she hoped, would be donated by the community and students would participate through an entry fee. For the colder months, Gina suggested a game night, hosted by the Class of 2022 but open to the entire campus population with an admission fee. Class baking competitions or a barbeque-style cookout were also suggested as ways to build bonds between the class while also raising necessary funds. She believes her experience as the Vice President of her Best Buddies chapter and attending a leadership conference at Indiana University are boons in the process of planning and organizing such events.

Gina has enjoyed running for president of her class. Her first step in her plan to “make everyone happy?” Bake cookies. In the Joan of Arc Hall kitchen, she baked enough cookies for every member of the Class of 2022. She acknowledged that there is stiff competition from the other candidates, arguing that, since they are all Politics majors, they have a head start on her in terms of speech writing and “the political scheme of things.”

She said what sets her apart is that she’s trying to take everyone’s opinions into account when coming up with campaign proposals, instead of focusing on “a few loud voices,” such as those that have been driving the discussion around intervisitation.

She said she was “taken by surprise” when those came up during class speeches and the Q&A period. Gina acknowledged that “there is a reason why [the policy is] there” and stressed her desire to “respect the [Monastery’s] wishes as much as possible because they live here for their lifetime; we live here for four years.”

She said any changes to the policy would have to come through a roundtable discussion but she wasn’t sure what kind of role she would have in it since school-wide policy falls under the purview of the Student Senate and its members more so than the class presidents.

Gina chose Saint Anselm College because it immediately “felt like home and felt like they wanted [her].” She cited Davison Dining Hall as a major factor in Saint Anselm College feeling like home, saying that “the food is great.” She emphasized that that experience of eating the same food she’s going to eat for the next four years, rather than something special for admissions, was a big deal for her. Gina’s go-to order at the Coffee Shop is mozzarella sticks for a snack or a teriyaki steak sandwich if she’s getting a meal.

If you’re looking for her around campus this weekend, unfortunately, you won’t be able to find her. She is heading home for Ed Sheeran’s concert at Gillette Stadium on Friday night but she said she “almost didn’t want to leave” Saint A’s, and wouldn’t have if it weren’t for the English pop star and wanting to see her dog.

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

Erica Hudson and Clare Robbins Present Research

Clare Robbins ’18 (left) and Erica Hudson ’18 (right) traveled to Portsmouth, NH to present their senior thesis research. (Photo by Nick Fulchino ’19)

Two Politics majors from the Class of 2018 traveled to Portsmouth, New Hampshire on Saturday, April 21st to present their undergraduate research theses to the New England Political Science Association’s annual conference. Both Erica Hudson ’18 and Clare Robbins ’18 were a part of a panel that focused on the intersections of race and gender with politics.

Professor Lucas and others in the Politics Department encouraged Hudson and Robbins to apply to the conference after reading their senior theses. Both of them were selected from a large pool of applicants. Professors at the conference said the process was highly selective.

Erica Hudson’s research focused on gender differences in various forms of government in post-Soviet states. The nature of her topic made the research process difficult for Hudson. She said, “I had to find data from the Soviet Era, much of which was only available in semi-rare books that I received through inter-library loan.”

She also shed light on the difficulties for International Relations majors in conducting research. “The South Caucasus region is the most linguistically diverse in the world, so data and papers I was finding were in Armenian, Arabic, Russian, etc. I often found myself wishing I could speak even just one of these languages,” Hudson explained.

Clare Robbins’ research focused on the political participation of Native American women. Robbins explained her passion for this issue. “Native American women are a group of people that have been oppressed for hundreds of years and little has been done about it,” she said. “I wanted to learn more and listen to their stories.” Even though she did a lot of listening, Robbins was cognizant of the complex relationship between white Americans and those indigenous to the United States.

The nature of the relationship provided complications for Robbins who found that Native American women were often unwilling to share their experiences. “The research process was difficult, especially because I was conducting interviews. People are not always willing to sit down and speak for something that may be published or shared publicly, which is understandable,” she said. The one interview she was able to do required Robbins drive for a few hours in snow and sleet.

“I think the most important thing I learned over the course of this experience was that I cannot speak for this group of people, but I can learn from their experiences,” Robbins said when asked about the most important thing she learned from her research.

Attendees of the conference asked questions of both Hudson and Robbins. These questions ranged from the generalizability of their research and the complexities of their research methodologies to questions about their passion for their research topics.

Hudson said the positive feedback she received at the conference was encouraging. She may even continue her research in the future, she said. “I received some great feedback, so I am definitely tempted to continue research, even if I pick it back up later on in graduate school,” she explained. Robbins is not planning on continuing her research on the topic but said that if she goes to graduate school, it is something she would consider.

Hudson also presented her research at a similar conference in Chicago, Illinois earlier this month.

Erin Howard Bikes for a Cure to MS

Erin Howard ’19 (second from left) seen riding with her team during last year’s bike ride.

While students usually spend their summer months reflecting and preparing for the new school year to come, Erin Howard, a member of the class of 2019, will be training endlessly in preparation for her four Bike MS: Cape Cod Getaway. The Cape Cod Getaway is a charity bike ride that focuses on raising money and awareness for Multiple Sclerosis, a disease of the central nervous system that is often unpredictable and disabling and can result in dangerous, lifelong symptoms. The ride consists of traveling 150 miles, starting in Boston and ending in Provincetown, in a matter of two days. For Erin, the bike ride may not be easy, but it’s deeply personal. Her Aunt Pam, who used to participate in the Cape Cod Getaway bike ride alongside Erin and her family, was diagnosed with MS in her twenties. She is a constant motivation for Erin.

The two days are broken up into an average of 75-80 miles-per-day, and riders are greeted with monstrous amounts of support by those cheering them. Support vehicles are constantly nearby, providing water and other basic needs to the bikers while they make their tremendous ride up and down hills and bumpy roads. For Erin, her support network includes her family and friends, some of whom have been diagnosed with MS themselves, and are right there riding beside her.

The morning of the June event is less than three months away, and as the race nears, Erin has begun to reflect on her previous race experiences. She recalled her emotions as the announcer started to call out teams to officially start the ride. “The start of the day is full of some nerves building up,” she said, “but at the same time happiness as soon as we all arrive at the carrels and join our teams. The minute they start calling teams everyone gets excited and they blast music and one by one each group is sent off.”

Erin, who used to volunteer at the event, described the time she crossed the finish line and completed her first Bike MS: Cape Cod Getaway, “I felt an overwhelming amount of exhaustion and joy. I was amazed that such a large amount of people could come together to complete such a mentally and physically draining two days, but all with smiles on their faces.” Erin emphasized that when it comes to the Cape Cod Getaway, everyone is a winner and that it’s important to remember the event is not a race. Everyone who is riding is working towards a better future for all those affected by MS.

With fundraising just beginning, Erin’s team, Naughty Wheelers, has raised a little under $1,000 dollars, with the ultimate goal of $20,000. Erin’s Aunt Pam continues to be an inspiration for her family to continuously push forward and help create a stronger community, where every mile provides hope for a world without MS.

You can help Erin’s effort by donating to her official Bike MS fundraising page here.

Photos provided by Erin Howard ’19.

Ginny Lauzon Fights for Her Nana

Once a year, the Saint Anselm community joins together for a night of reflection, celebration, and determination to raise awareness for a disease that had claimed so many lives. Relay for Life is not only a fundraising event for a cure to cancer but a chance for communities to join together and give positive change and support to those who need it. By forming a team and pledging to have at least one member walk around a track for one night at all times, participants get to envision what life is like for a patient who is not allowed to stop their battle with cancer. Ginny Lauzon, a member of the class of 2019, has her own reason to walk the track on Friday, April 13th.

Ginny is from North Andover, Massachusetts and is currently studying biology with a pre-vet path, here at Saint Anselm College. In the past, Ginny has participated in multiple Relay for Life events at Saint Anselm, typically walking for friends and other members of her community, but this year will be different. Two months ago, her grandmother, with whom she shares the same name, was diagnosed with colon cancer and underwent major surgery to begin her battle. It was the first time that cancer has hit close to home for Ginny and it has inspired her to start her own relay team after her grandmother, called “Nana’s Fighters.”

Since her grandmother’s initial diagnosis, Ginny says Nana has received numerous flowers and cards filled with well-wishes. Members of her town and church have all reached out to show her how loved and supported she is, and Ginny herself has seen the outpouring of support through her own friends and fellow Anselmians who all pledged to walk with her in honor of her grandmother.

Ginny’s grandmother helps to remind a community that cancer is not something that can slow her down. Her willpower and determination are unlike anyone else’s. Ginny went to see her grandmother after the surgery and walked in to see her grandmother baking Easter cookies. Despite her diagnosis, the original Virginia Lauzon continues to continue her routine as much as she can.

Nana’s Fighters currently has 16 team members and has raised over $1,500 in support of Relay for Life. Ginny has a message for the community, “Even if you’re not walking for someone you personally know or love, I think there is power in numbers—and not just the power of a dollar sign or how much money you’ve raised, but power in people walking for someone they know. Raising awareness and coming together can be just as important.”

Photo courtesy of Ginny Lauzon.