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: Emily Dickey ’23, President

Emily Dickey is one of two candidates running to be the President for the Class of 2023. In her campaign speech, which she delivered Wednesday, Emily spoke briefly about the common emotions freshmen have when coming to college. She discussed the feelings of worry, sadness, and uncertainty that accompanied her on her way to Saint Anselm, but she pointed out that those feelings did not last long. She said simply, “I have found a new family here” and that she was “thrilled with the choice to become an Anselmian”. She went on to say that “There’s a strength here, and people just want to progress and grow and help others” and that she’s “never met a group of people so committed to being better individuals every day”.

When asked about her goals for the year, Emily highlighted the obvious need to engage with students and increase student participation. One of her main goals is to learn more about Saint Anselm and SGA in what she called “the trial and error year”. She explained that as freshmen she and her peers have a great deal to learn, but they are also afforded a host of new and exciting opportunities.

Photo courtesy of Emily Dickey

Emily spoke about the unique perspective she was hoping to bring to her class council by bringing up her favorite quote: “Move the needle”. She said that she always kept this in mind as she was a leader in student government all throughout high school. Now, in college, she is hoping to bring that same attitude not simply to move her needle, but to “do things that’ll help other people move their needle in life”. 

On the subject of student engagement, Emily said that there were multiple factors behind the apparent lack of interest among her peers. The first, she said, was that people simply didn’t know enough about the school yet to take a major stake in it and work towards solving issues around campus. Secondly, she mentioned that it was SGA’s job to “get the kids out there”; she was referencing the traditional formatting of SGA candidate speeches being held in an auditorium, only available to those willing to come and watch. Emily suggested that it would be possible to stream speeches to multiple areas around campus – Davison, CShop, and the Student Center. She mentioned that the current format made her, and her fellow candidates, feel hidden and secluded. The solution to the issue of low student turnout, in Emily’s mind, is utilizing the power of word of mouth and directly asking students to participate. As she mentioned in her speech and reiterated in her interview, Emily believes the best way to engage with students is to identify an active core group of students that can motivate their peers and bring students to events.

Emily 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.