SGA Welcomes New Members

Amongst the confusion and chaos of adjusting to a new reality on campus, a select few students decided to become leaders of their respective class. The 2020 Class Council Elections were supposed to happen in March of 2020 with an info session already having taken place back in February. Despite the chaotic timeline of events, on September 2nd, the representatives of the Classes of 2021, 2022, and 2023 took the stage and were inaugurated. 

The process for these candidates was fairly simple: first, they attended an info session and asked questions where necessary; second, they had their classmates sign their petition for candidacy (fifteen signatures were required this semester); third, they signed a waiver recognizing the rules of the race; finally they began their campaign. The last course of action for any candidate are the speeches which are held traditionally the night before the first day of the election. This year, speeches were  held in The Melucci Theater while onlookers and potential voters watched from Zoom. Broadcast Club was brought in to assist as well. 

As for interest in the Class Council elections, it’s been average. The Senior class kept their elected members from last year, Juniors have an entirely new council made up of all males (all races went uncontested), and the Sophomores had the one contested race out of all classes for Senators with six people running for four spots. In past elections, there have been times when some ballots have empty positions with no one running which leads to a special election some time later – luckily this didn’t happen in this election. Voting interest has been sporadic to say the least. With the upperclassmen elections concluded, the senior class cast less than 30 votes, the Juniors cast around 60 votes, and the Sophomores cast over 80 votes. This is, unfortunately, average for Class Council elections excluding Freshmen. 

When it comes to the SGA and its responsibilities, the average student would say “But Spencer, SGA doesn’t do [insert whatever you want here]”. This statement is incorrect by all means. It is this statement that may cause the low levels of turnout that is seen every Class Council Election. The Class Councils and the Student Government Association as a whole do a great deal. For example, members of the SGA not only sit on SGA committees such as Room and Board, Academic, and Welfare, but also sit on SAC administrative committees such as the Traffic Committee which oversees appeals for tickets, and even in the very near future the Board of Trustees. These two examples are not alone and represent two extremes. In terms of what originates from the SGA, the class presidents represent the class to the Administration whenever necessary, the SGA Appropriations Committee controls the money flow to clubs and organizations, SGA Club Affairs approve of clubs and control the process of creating clubs, and SGA officially speak on behalf of the student body on all issues and projects. In the end, the SGA does do much and those 30 to 60 members of your class are deciding who represents you for these decisions. 

The Freshmen seem to take this memo well and have sent their best to the election. With all positions contested they are bound to have much interest with the voters (not to mention the fact that one of the Senate candidates got endorsed by Mr. Mosby). They will follow the same election procedures, just with a later timeline.. Voters will be able to cast their ballot today and tomorrow from 12p – 6p. The location for voting is Davison Hall’s entrance. If you have any issues, comments, or questions, feel free to email 

Canada Goes to the Polls

With Trudeau’s Liberals leaving the General Election with a minority government, the Conservatives with a dim future, and the Bloc Quebecois back in action with more than double the number of seats than previously held, Canada’s next parliamentary term will be a large unknown.

The Liberals, Conservatives, New Democrats, Bloc Québécois, Greens, and the People’s Party of Canada – all parties that have ballot access that sought seats in Ottawa, Canada’s Capital. With only forty days to campaign, the beginning and the end of this period are very different. 170 seats are required to form a majority government. Don’t worry if you have no clue about Canadian Federal politics; all will be explained.

Justin Trudeau, of the Papineau Riding in Montreal, is the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. As a centre-left/ centre party, they enjoy policies that are similar to that of the Democrats here in the US. Since the 2015 General Election, the Liberals have had sweeping successes with a reformed Party Platform. However, one major setback for the party is not coming through with Electoral Reform. One of the major 2015 promises the Liberals made was reforming the electoral system to make it more proportional. Unfortunately, nothing came of this and the 2019 Election paid the price with a nonrepresentational outlook of seats in Parliament. 157 Seats Acquired

Andrew Scheer, of the Regina-Qu’Appelle riding in Saskatchewan, is the leader for the Conservative Party of Canada. The Conservatives are centre-right and enjoy a more left set of values compared to their US counterparts, the Republican Party. Since 2015 when Trudeau’s Liberal party took back the House majority, the conservatives have lost their sight. While they have a consistent and strong base, outreach and upgrading their policies to appeal to the new young voters is an issue that remains unsolved.

121 Seats Acquired

Yves-François Blanchet, of the Beloeil-Chambly Riding in Quebec, is the leader for the Bloc Quebecois. A unique party in that they only run candidates in Quebec. Their ideology is also unique: Quebecois nationalism. The purpose of the party is to represent Quebec interests, which tend to be centre-left. Quebec has a very different culture and people compared to the rest of Canada. Separatist movements and violence from an IRA-style group called the FLQ (Quebec Liberation Front) have left stains on Quebec’s past. Multiple referendums on secession have occurred with the latest one in 1995 came within 0.6% of passing. 32 Seats Acquired

The three last parties are by order of national vote ranking:

  • The New Democratic Party (NDP)

Analogically, If the Liberals are the establishment Democrats in the US, the NDP are the Democratic Socialists – Bernie Sanders and “The Squad”. With Sikh leader Jagmeet Singh, the NDP’s leader, the NDP saw a restructuring of the party in relation to the Liberals. The NDP underperformed for this election, however. They often vote alongside the Liberals and their leader Jagmeet Singh has said they would form a coalition with the Liberals which would get them over the magical 170 seats. 24 Seats Acquired

  • The Greens

With leader Elizabeth May, the Greens follow normal Green ideology: grassroots democracy, emphasis on environmentalism, and social justice among other left-wing ideas. 3 Seats Acquired

  • The People’s Party of Canada (PPC)

A brand new party, headed by Maxime Bernier, the once Conservative MP jumped ship after the Conservatives veered leftward in order to appeal for Climate Change. The PPC enjoys values such as small government, economic conservatism, and light social conservatism with an emphasis on anti-immigration. 0 Seats Acquired

As a Federal Constitutional Parliamentary Monarchy (that’s a mouthful), Canada is governed by a parliament that has ministers from political subdivisions – Provinces and Territories – that have defined power and rights. Canada is governed at the highest level – technically – by the throne in England: Queen Elizabeth II; however the British Governor of Canada does little more than ceremonial duties. Their lower house of parliament, the House of Commons, is elected through First Past the Post in “Ridings” – in the US, the term would be the same as a Congressional District.

A lasting theme for the night, a possible reason for the results, is the frustration with electoral reform. CBC, from where this writer watched the election, often had their pundits complain about the lack of Proportional Representation. One of Justin Trudeau’s original campaign promises during his 2015 Parliament run was for electoral reform. Unfortunately, the committee that headed that did not recommend any change to the electoral system already being used, First Past the Post, and Trudeau followed their answer.

If you want to see more, click here to go to the CBC ‘s (Canada’s Public Broadcasting Corporation) official results. All results from this article were found on CBC or either on their live broadcast of the election.

Meet The Candidates: Ben Mickens ’23, Senate

Focused on financial responsibility and transparency, Ben Mickens is one of two candidates to represent the Class of 2023 in the Student Senate. Ben is hoping to establish himself as an accessible and reliable leader within his class. This desire has manifested itself within Ben’s goals for the upcoming Senate term: increase student participation in class events, encourage students to become engaged in Student Government, and create efficient and consistent communication between the Class Council and the student body.

Photo courtesy of Ben Mickens

When asked about his qualifications for the position, Ben pointed to multiple years of experience in his high school planning events and fundraisers while also participating in the mock trial program. He also spoke about his optimism for the year, recognizing the professionalism of everyone within SGA, as well as the unique opportunity to discuss campus-wide issues in the Senate.

Ben said that as he was campaigning and collecting nomination signatures he spoke with students about possible issues. He gave the example of a student who had been fearful that his meal plan was not as large and extensive as it should be. Ben also took the opportunity to provide a few personal areas of concern. He wanted to ensure that the college was not being wasteful when funding projects, and said that financial responsibility was of the utmost importance. To Ben, this is not only important for the school’s pocketbook, but it is also a matter of making sure that students’ tuition is not increasing unnecessarily. 

On the issue of student engagement, Ben said that it would be nearly impossible to “get the school involved if we can’t get our class involved”. He suggested that rather than strictly advertising on social media or contacting people via email, the Class Council should take advantage of their unique situation and personally communicate within freshmen dorms on campus such as Dominic Hall and Joan of Arc Hall. He also noted that students are not generally apathetic as much as they are simply uninformed. Ben said: “They’re open to being engaged”, and insisted the Class Council should do everything it could to directly engage them.

Ben also considered those communication strategies to be a two-way street, pointing out that students should be able to bring ideas for events and fundraisers directly to their council. Ben remarked, “When someone has an idea, as a leader you support others ideas […] I’m always open to talk, I have an open-door policy”. He also suggested community partnerships to assist the class in raising funds. 

Aside from his participation in SGA, Ben is also a member of the Saint Anselm College Republicans, the Abbey Players, and the Honors Program. He is one of two candidates running to represent the Class of 2023 in the Student Senate, and voting will be held Monday and Tuesday in Davison and CShop.

Meet The Candidates: Stefan Zwolinski ’23, President

Stefan Zwolinski is a confident candidate for President of the Class of 2023. Stefan, who has formed his campaign around active communication and selfless leadership, said in his interview with the Hilltopper: “Actions speak louder than words. Acting on what we as candidates say is the most important thing, and it’s up to the voters to determine who does that best.” 

When asked about his qualifications for the position, Stefan pointed to his past experiences in high school student government. He remarked that it had not always been easy, and at times during his junior and senior year he had been required to work within a team which had inefficiencies and it forced him to take on more responsibilities. On how he views the Presidency, Stefan said: “It’s a challenge for me, and it’s something I challenge myself to do […] this is something I’ve come to be passionate about”. Stefan would go on to emphasize the passion and the need for passionate leaders. 

Photo courtesy of Stefan Zwolinksi

This passion could be seen in his goals for the year: building and strengthening personal relationships with his constituents, opening consistent pathways of communication, and maintaining a strong work ethic as a group. He said that as a council “We’re not going to stop working no matter what”, and that he wants “everyone to have their voice in determining their future”. 

If you had the opportunity to see Stefan’s speech Wednesday night, it should be no surprise that he is a strong supporter of the Saint Anselm athletic community. He remarked that he’d had multiple conversations with students who had wanted to create more club sports on campus, as well as increasing funding and support for those clubs. One example he highlighted, was an instance in which the Club Soccer team had been denied their request for SGA to fund their transportation to and from their games. 

Stefan also pointed out the need for more effective methods of communication from his class. He suggested appointing a Communications Manager, as social media was a viable means of communication and something everyone has access to. When asked specifically about the turnout at the candidates’ speeches Wednesday night, Stefan said: “We’re all to blame for not telling people about speeches”. He elaborated on that statement by saying that it was partially SGA’s responsibility and fault for poorly advertising the event, but part of the issue falls back on the Freshmen candidates themselves for not encouraging more people to attend the event. He said clearly: “I think they could’ve done a better job, but if we want our voices to get heard it’s our responsibility”.

On the topic of fundraising and event planning, Stefan said that he was going to be looking towards Student Body President Joshua Hughes, and other seasoned SGA veterans for advice and guidance. However, Stefan argued that though the role of the President was to lead class activities, it wouldn’t stop him from supporting his peers in the Senate and advocating for issues he was passionate about. He said, “being President isn’t just about fundraising and events” and that he hoped to go above and beyond the typical model of Class President. 

Stefan is one of two candidates for the position of President of the Class of 2023. Voting will be held Monday and Tuesday in Davison and CShop.

Meet The Candidates: Eric O’Connor ’23, Senate

Photo courtesy of Eric O’Connor

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.