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.

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.