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.

Sex in the Air: Freshmen Candidates Talk About Contraceptives, Intervis

Every year, a new class arrives on the hilltop, and it is up to them to elect their leadership to guide them through an inaugural year of learning and change. This year is no different as the Class of 2022, Saint Anselm College’s largest class in history, met on Wednesday night to hear from candidates for the Student Government Association.

The first people to speak were the candidates for Senate. There are four candidates running for four senate seats. They are Michael Baumgartner, Jackson Peck, Aidan Pierce, and Kate Shubert.

Peck promised to work on campus-wide issues, like allowing students to get back unused meal plan funds at the end of the year. He also addressed recent budget cuts with an air of skepticism. “I want to know where my money’s going,” he told the class, noting that services seemed to be decreasing while tuition and fees increased.

Aidan Pierce promised he was “the best person to find out” what matters to the Class of 2022. He emphasized growing up in a working-class family. As a young teenager, Aidan worked jobs to help support his family. He noted that his financial aid package made him believe that Saint Anselm College wanted him here, and now he wants to give back to the school.

Like the candidates before him, Michael Baumgartner talked about a “vision for the future.” He promised class members that he would fight for them. “Nothing will be as important to me as listening to your concerns and ideas,” he explained.

The most rousing of the speeches came from Kate Shubert, a Politics major, who told the class she originally planned to run for class president. She raised eyebrows and drew applause when she argued that the issue she heard about most from classmates was that Saint Anselm College “pretends sex doesn’t exist.” She noted that the college’s Catholic tradition prevents the school from providing students with contraceptives that can prevent the spread of sexually-transmitted diseases. She called providing condoms to students a “matter of safety.”

Shubert’s bold policy proposal immediately shifted the attitude of the room. In the question and answer periods for the senate, vice presidential, and presidential candidates, the issue of safe sex dominated. Members of the Class of 2022 expected candidates to take a stand on whether or not they believed that contraceptives should be readily available from the school and how they planned to implement such a change.

Vice presidential candidate Brendan Joyce, the tenth member of the Joyce family to attend Saint Anselm College, raised concerns about the college’s intervisitation policy and said he wanted to work on a change to the policy while vice president. He also spent his speech talking about the values instilled in him as a child, saying his father always told him it was “more important to be a good man than a great man.” He said he believed the same of Saint Anselm College and would work to get the school there. Joyce also expressed a desire to bring a fountain to campus.

His speech was followed by Tyler Cullen, a Londonderry, New Hampshire resident who emphasized his experience as a representative of his high school peers on the Londonderry School Board. As a student representative, Cullen said he had to deal with issues that are comparable to the ones facing Saint Anselm College, such as dealing with campus security in the wake of the Parkland shooting. During the question and answer period, Cullen voiced support for Shubert’s proposal regarding contraceptives while noting a deep respect for the monastery. He also expressed a desire to work on recycling and avoiding littering on campus.

The most competitive race for the Class of 2022 is that of president, as is typical in freshman classes. There are four candidates: Sean Bentley, David Chairez, Gina Gagliardi, and Trever Nelson.

Nelson is a resident of Kennebunkport, Maine. He talked about his time working in student council as a high school student and his desire to be involved in the College Democrats while on campus. In the question and answer period, Nelson showed a deep concern for keeping the campus clean and preserving its beauty.

David Chairez hails from Los Angeles, California. He’s a Post Malone fan and self-described “nerd” who said that he immediately felt a sense of family when he arrived on the Hilltop. He shared a vision of inclusion, emphasizing his desire to “unite as one school.” When asked about the issue he cared most about, Chairez noted his desire to make Saint Anselm College the most inclusive and diverse school it can be, hoping to bring people of all backgrounds together.

Another contender is Gina Gagliardi, who introduced herself to the class by declaring, “I like warm hugs.” Unlike many of her opponents, Gagliardi said that she didn’t aspire to run for student government when she came to campus. Instead, one of her friends encouraged to her seek the position. While emphasizing a desire to hold fundraisers so the class is on a strong financial footing, Gagliardi was honest about her biggest goal as class president. “I just want to make you all happy,” she said. Her jovial nature is embodied in her campaign slogan, “The girl with the smile will go the extra mile.”

The final contender for president is Sean Bentley, a Politics major, who spent most of his time talking about school-wide issues, like reducing lines in Davison Hall and bringing a printer to every residence. He also joined others in calling for a change in the intervisitation policy. He hopes to expand the hours before scrapping the restrictions altogether. In high school, Bentley organized a backpack and school supplies drive for needy families.

On the controversial issues of contraceptives and intervisitation, Nelson and Gagliardi emphasized the need to bring both sides together and have an honest dialogue. Bentley and Chairez seemed to be more outraged by policies like intervisitation, promising to work to end the policy.

The candidate with the easiest night was Josh Pratt, a right-handed history and education double major from Concord, New Hampshire. Pratt is the only freshman running for secretary. He promised to be as transparent as possible in order to keep students informed of the issues the class council is discussing. In addition to taking thorough minutes, Pratt is excited to make Saint Anselm College into a home, not simply a school.

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

UPDATE: The Hilltopper edited the paragraph about Sean Bentley’s position on intervisitation. He believes that the current policy is too restrictive and supports expanding hours for intervisitation. He hopes to one day end the restrictions altogether. The wording has been changed to better reflect his position.

Hughes, Ethier Take the Helm of SGA

Jacob Ethier (left) congratulates Josh Hughes (right) after Hughes was sworn-in. (Photo provided by Josh Hughes ’20)

On Sunday, March 25, 2018, the Saint Anselm community gathered in the auditorium of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics for the annual Student Government Association Inauguration. The ceremony was significant because it marked the end of the two-year administration of President Emma Bishop and Vice President Brandon Pratt. Sophomores Joshua Hughes and Jacob Ethier were sworn-in to replace Bishop and Pratt.

The auditorium was standing room only as event organizers added new tables at the last minute to accommodate the larger-than-anticipated audience. Prior to Hughes and Ethier’s swearing-in, Dean of Students Alicia Finn made her remarks, comparing leadership to the experience of flying a kite. There were also several award winners. Matthew Masur of the History Department was awarded Professor of the Year. Wayne Currie of the Multicultural Center was awarded Administrator of the Year. Lorie Cochran, the administrative assistant in the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, received the award for Staff Member of the Year for the second time in her career.

In their remarks, President Emma Bishop and Vice President Brandon Pratt thanked the student body for the opportunity to serve the school community. Pratt called on the new Student Government Association to continue efforts for including all students in the Association. In the upcoming SGA term, three of the four vice presidents will be students of color – a first in the Association’s history. One of them, Class of 2021 Vice President Sashoy Powell, was honest about what she expects. “Having a couple more minorities in [the] Senate doesn’t really change much rather than the obvious fact that it’s a little diverse now,” she said. “Us as minorities now have a platform to voice our opinions and bring forth issues that other minorities face on our campus,” Powell continued. She also hopes that the increased diversity of the Senate will encourage more students of color to run.

For senior Vice President Sheila Ramirez, the increased presence of students of color is welcomed. After working with Wayne Currie and directly encouraging students to seek office in SGA, Ramirez said she is proud of the new makeup of SGA. “I’m really happy to see more diverse students on SGA. It breaks the stereotype that its only certain kinds of people [who] run,” she said. “I’m really honored that I had a hand in that.” As a graduating senior, the moment caps Ramirez’s three years of dedication to the Association. “I’m glad I’m leaving [SGA] better than I found it,” she concluded.

 After Pratt’s speech, Ethier was sworn-in as the new student body vice president. After, Josh Hughes was sworn-in as the new president. In his speech, Hughes talked about being humbled by the confidence students placed in him. He also used his speech to affirm some campaign promises he had made. The new president signaled that his administration intends to revisit resolutions already passed by SGA to make sure that the college is implementing them. Additionally, Hughes, a computer science major, said he hopes that SGA can develop a phone application that will provide information about “hilltop happenings, varsity sporting events, club sporting events, a live feed of cameras that view the length of lines for the grill and the coffee shop, and many more features.”

Hughes closed his speech with a nod to a saying he repeated throughout the campaign. “I want to end with a quote I said in my campaign speech and a quote that I have really started to live by, a quote that has really motivated me to take chances in every aspect of life chances I never knew I would have the guts to take. The quote is: ‘Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly.’”

After thanking everyone who organized the event, Hughes told The Hilltopper he liked “that so many people from the St. A’s community came out to inauguration, not just people involved with it.”

Now, the Hughes/Ethier administration will guide their executive board nominations through confirmation by the SGA Senate. Among the nominations are Kerrin Norton, a junior who served as the Room & Board Chair in the second term of the Bishop/Pratt administration, for Chief of Staff. Norton has been spearheading SGA’s effort to improve campus handicap accessibility. Hughes and Ethier affirmed their administration’s support for Norton’s work and said they are prioritizing handicap accessibility in their year in office.