In continuing with The Hilltopper’s coverage of the Student Government Association elections, our team reached out to the candidates running for Student Body President and Vice President for the ’21-22′ academic year. There will be two tickets on the ballot. Richard “Rit” Flandreau and Kevin Chrisom, as well as Aidan Pierce and Jackson Peck will be running for President and Vice President respectively. Both tickets are already hot on the campaign trails and we are glad to support their runs in whatever capacity possible here at the Hilltopper.
We sent a questionnaire to each candidate and had them fill out their responses for us to deliver to the student body. Rather than summarize their answers, we at The Hilltopper would rather you, the voters, to see their actual words and answers to the questions we posed to them. Below, find the questions and ansers, as written by the candidates to the questions we saw most important to the Saint Anselm community.
What is your name, major, class, and position you are running for on the ticket?
Richard ‘Rit’ Flandreau, Finance and Accounting, 2022, President
Kevin Chrisom Politics, 2022, Vice President
Aidan Pierce, International Relations and History, 2022, President
Jackson Peck Politics & History Major, Peace and Justice Studies Minor, 2022, Vice President
What other organizations are you involved in on campus?
Rit: Admissions, Alumni Relations, SEAL, ARC
Kevin: NHIOP Ambassadors
Aidan: The Hilltopper, IR Club (Vice President), Research Assistant @ Politics Department, Student Response Task Force Member
Jackson: True Equality and Dignity Alliance (TEDA), Transitions Program, Res Life, The Hilltopper
Why did you choose to run for Student Body President/Vice President?
Rit: When Kevin and I ran last year, we wanted to collaborate with different departments to increase engagement. For our re-election, we would like to continue this, as well as the several projects in the works.
Kevin: I chose to run for SGA VP to advocate for students and seek change within the Student Government Association. I found the SGA had a lot of untapped potential that needed to be used. I chose to run because I love this institution and the many things it has to offer. To be a part of this organization is a great honor, and it’s something I will always cherish. I wanted to be a true advocate for the student body and I feel as though I have done that as VP. It would be a tremendous privilege to continue serving in this capacity.
Aidan: I chose to run for Student Body President because I believe strongly in my vision for what SGA can be. At its best, SGA can be a conduit for students to take an active role in what happens at their home away from home. I’m confident in my ability to see this vision out because I believe hard work breeds results, and I’ve been working hard on behalf of the student body since the beginning of my freshman year. I love Saint Anselm College. Because of this love, I am compelled to do all I can for it, and I see no better way to carry this vision through than as Student Body President.
Jackson: I chose to run for Student Body Vice President because Aidan and I have been working together for years to advocate for our peers and ensure that their concerns are heard, so we felt that running to represent our peers at the highest possible level would be the best way to continue that student advocacy. We have a vision for what this school could be, and we want to ensure that at the center of all decision making at Saint Anselm College is the Student Body. Any decision which effects students should involve student input, and as President and Vice President we would be able to most effectively ensure students have a say.
What do the duties and responsibilities of President and Vice President of SGA mean to you?
Rit: It certainly means a lot that we were elected to represent the whole student body, and to be liaisons on different committees and to the administration is something that I take great pride in.
Kevin: There are several duties of the SGA VP. The President and Vice President serve as the chief liaisons between the student body and College administration, meet weekly with the Dean of Students, and biweekly with the College President, sit on committees, organize initiatives, fundraise, and more. The Vice President serves as the President of the Student Senate.
Aidan: Being the President of SGA means setting the example for the rest of the student body. Now, more than ever, bold student leadership is needed to empower the student body to achieve more than ever thought possible. The pandemic has illustrated the need for this bold leadership, which comes with great responsibility. Exemplifying what it means to be an Anselmian means respecting public health rules, encouraging diversity and inclusion, and advocating for the student interest first and foremost. I promise to exemplify these ideals and more if elected.
Jackson: Stand up for students. Even if it might be a difficult, the first responsibility and duty of the Student Body President and Vice President is to stand with the student body and ensure that their concerns are met with support. Supporting our students will be our main concern, and if we meet challenges in our mission to support the student body we will overcome those challenges, because nothing means more to us than the students of Saint Anselm College.
What sets your ticket apart from the other?
Rit: Kevin and I have been in office for a year now, and have built strong connections across campus. Moving forward, we will be able to collaborate with these relationships we have created and can have a large impact on future and current classes.
Kevin: We put the College’s needs over our own. We work in a collaborative manner with College administration and are proud to do so. Our term has been a record of strong accomplishment from an unprecedented Student Response Task Force, to strides made on mental health, our administration has made long-lasting change for students. We are practical in our work and are proud of it. We have rewrote how SGA operates and have given future leaders the chance to act upon it.
Aidan: Our teamwork and experience. Jackson and I have a combined 5.5 years of experience in SGA, and I personally have served continuously in SGA since the beginning of freshman year. Furthermore, our cohesiveness as a team was on full display in the Student Response Task Force, where Jackson and I spearheaded the project discussions and the ultimate report. We were in lockstep every step of the way on this project, which is unique to our ticket. Jackson and I have the personal and professional relationship necessary for the job, and the evidence bears this claim out.
Jackson: I think the biggest things that sets us apart from our competition are our longterm friendship, our experience, and our effort to be open and transparent about what we stand for. Aidan and I met each other in 2017 while in Washington D.C., and when I came to Saint As, he was the only person I knew and we just so happened to be in the same orientation group, so naturally we became very good friends. We have been close friends for multiple years now, and in nearly everything we do on this campus, Aidan and I are a team. I think a year of experience working together is commendable, but I think that the length of my friendship with Aidan as well as our history of working together as a team is a big factor in what sets us apart. SGA was the first group that we both joined, because we have cared about this organization and its mission since the beginning. Aidan spent two years as a class Senator and now serves as the Chair of the Academic Committee. I spent a year in the Senate and a year as our class Vice President. We were two of the main writers of the Student Response Task Force Report, we’ve sought transparency from administrators through The Hilltopper, and remain active members of a few other clubs. Aidan and I have always been involved on campus within SGA and beyond, and I think that sets us apart. I’d say the biggest thing though, is that if you go on our Instagram campaign page you can look through not only the things we care about, but also the specific policy goals we hope to accomplish. What sets us apart is that if you asked us what we stood for we could give you a concrete list of the things we want to accomplish and how we plan to do it. Any candidate can say they want more of this or less of that, but Aidan and I have a plan, and we’re open and transparent about that plan. Thats something unique we bring to the table.
If during your tenure you could only push one major initiative on campus, what would that be and why?
Rit: I would like to push engagement the most, which would include the idea of collaboration, because we put an emphasis on STUDENT in Student Government Association. Our purpose is to create a positive impact on the student college experience.
Kevin: A joint Task Force between Administration and SGA to focus on problems ranging on a variety of areas. Often times, students don’t know where to go to bring information or express concerns. I would strongly push for this joint effort to meet the needs of the students as well as to forge a stronger working relationship with College administration.
Aidan: Diverse student voices must be elevated around campus. This starts with ensuring that students are able to pick their own representatives to the Board of Trustees and other Administrative committees/working groups, and creating a Secretary of Diversity and Inclusion as an Executive-Board level position in student government. Student Government must be representative of the whole student body, and this starts with making sure all student voices are heard loudly and clearly. We believe in this strongly, and is the reason why we have made what we stand for clear to the entirety of the student body.
Jackson: There are multiple parts of our platform, all of which are available to review on our Instagram page, but personally the initiative I am most excited about and the one I see as integral to the success of the college is supporting diversity and inclusion. What has SGA done to support the college’s diversity and inclusion initiatives? Not enough. Aidan and I would start by appointing a Chair of Diversity and Inclusion to the SGA Executive Board. Next, we would form an SGA subcommittee thats sole responsibility would be to coordinate efforts with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to integrate college goals with SGA activities and initiatives. We would also use the club appropriations process to incentivize club programming centered around diversity and inclusion. These policies, we feel, are important to the success of the college and we should be doing everything possible to support and strengthen our diverse student body and ensure we are as inclusive as possible as a college community.
If you could continue to push one major initiative already in place, what would it be and why?
Rit: We would like to continue to push the environmental issues. We have revived the Respect the Nest campaign, and we plan to continue with this and more.
Kevin: Continued efforts regarding recycling. The SGA Respect the Nest Committee has been reformed and rebuilt to play a larger role on campus. I would continue to advocate for the Student Senate to be more vocal in their calls for strong environmental policies across campus. The work of the Respect the Nest Committee has made a long-lasting impact and we look forward to continuing that effort in our second term.
Aidan: Respect the Nest and the recycling initiative. For as long as I have been in Student Government, the process of making this campus more environmentally-friendly has been, admittedly, disappointingly slow. This isn’t for lack of effort: student activists like the Green Queens of Saint Anselm show that there is a real appetite amongst students for bold changes to this campus’ environmental footprint. Within the first month of our administration, we pledge to push the Respect the Nest campaign to higher places than ever before, with increasing recycling accessibility at the forefront of the push.
Jackson: A few years ago, the Respect The Nest Campaign got started on campus. As Eagle Scouts, we both care a great deal about the environment and we think that supporting the Green Team and using the SGA Senate to focus our efforts on increasing education around recycling as well as recycling opportunities is incredibly important. Tyler Cullen has done a great job this year as the Chair of the Respect The Nest Committee, and we hope to capitalize on the work he’s done next year.
If you could change one major thing about SGA what would it be and why?
Rit: Kevin and I wanted to utilize the resources on campus more, and to get more student input: but we have done just that. From the Student Response Task Force to many resolutions, it has been a very productive year.
Kevin: Make SGA more engaging across campus. Many say that SGA doesn’t do anything because they are not as vocal in the community. Making SGA more of an engaging entity would surely change the institution for the better. I am committed on continuing to make that happen.
Aidan: SGA needs reformation at the level of the Executive Board. We pledge to create and fill the position of Secretary of Diversity and Inclusion as a cabinet-level position so that SGA can be truly representative of every Anselmian, regardless of race, color, creed, or sexual orientation. In my three years in Student Government, we have strived to be aware of prejudices and biases in our association, but in order to fully realize our goal, diversity and inclusivity must be treated like the executive-level priority it is.
Jackson: SGA is not as productive as it can or should be. As the President of the Senate, I would set goals for the Welfare, Room and Board, and Academic Committees to ensure that we have a constant stream of resolutions coming before the Senate. On day one, I will sit down with our appointed chairs of the three committees and ask them to work with the senators on their committees to brainstorm five issues they want to focus on, at least three of which I would expect to see a resolution on by the end of the semester. So, in summary, I would work to ensure we’re being as productive as we can be.
Where is your go-to spot on campus to interact with your constituents?
Rit: I like to go to the Student Center because I get to engage with all classes and the several organizations which are housed there.
Kevin: My office in the Student Center. I have an open-door policy and constituents are always welcome to come in and talk.
Aidan: Before Covid? C Shop, especially when there’s a live performance brought to us by CAB! During Covid, the Jean Student Center (which originated as an SGA initiative) has really emerged as a fantastic place for students to interact and intermingle, most especially in Campus Ministry, Meelia, and the Intercultural Center.
Jackson: The Student Center or Davison Hall are definitely the best two spots to stop and chat with people about their day. I can be confident that every time I walk into the Student Center I will see a friendly face, someone tabling, or the multiple offices buzzing with activity. The Student Center is the hub for student activity on campus and its my favorite place to meet and visit with people.
Is there anything we missed that you want to make known to our team as we put together our coverage of the election?
Rit: Hawks Keep Soaring, #RK2021
Aidan: Jackson and I don’t just talk, we have the chops to really get this job done. We are both Eagle Scouts, and this has informed our prioritization of environmentalism in our campaign. For myself, as a Park Ranger, I do the work of conservation and preservation on behalf of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and I have developed years of experience serving the environment. I truly believe we are the best team for the job, and our experience speaks to this belief.
Jackson: We want to be open and transparent about our campaign and what we stand for. Our entire platform with specific policy breakdowns, all of our endorsements from groups and students, and our own statements are available on our Instagram! We’ve also been working with our campaign team to hand out stickers, hang up posters, and speak with members of the student body. We’re proud of our campaign and we’re excited for voting on Thursday and Friday!
Be sure to check out the Instagram pages of the candidates @flandreauchrisom2021 and @pierce_peck_2021 for more information on their campaigns and to stay up to date with the latest Student Body Election news.
We at The Hilltopper would like to thank all four of the candidates for taking the time to respond to our survey and let their voices be broadcast to our readers. If you still have questions you hope the candidates can answer, reach out to our Chief of Staff, Bryan Lavoie, at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get the answer and update the article as soon as possible. Be sure to tune into the Study Body Speeches on Wednesday March 24th at 8pm via Zoom. Also, you can submit questions for the candidates to answer following their speeches to SGAIP@anselm.edu prior to the event!