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 sgaip@anselm.edu 

NHIOP Cares About Civic Engagement, and We Should Too

On September 10, exactly 100 years since New Hampshire ratified the 19th Amendment, the New Hampshire Institute of Politics invited author Elaine Weiss to speak about her book “The Woman’s Hour”. The historical non-fiction takes readers on a journey through the final battles of the 19th amendment, shining a light on the racism, political corporatism, and bigotry that made this movement one of the most awe-inspiring in terms of the unbeatable odds. 

Curiously enough, Weiss commented that her interest in the subject began when she started asking people how women won the right to vote, and they would tell her they’d never heard of Seneca Falls. Weiss suspected that there must have been more to an entire movement than one convention, leading her to study the fight for the 19th in great detail.

After describing the strenuous events that led to the ratification of the 19th, many audience members were left feeling hopeless because of the current climate on the topic of gender. When asked how Weiss felt about time slipping backward, she responded that “it gives me hope to see what this movement has gone through…they always picked themselves back up”.

She went on to say, “maybe that’s the comfort in knowing history is cyclical, it’s always happened, but you have to keep fighting”. Weiss’ conversation with the audience brought her to a very important topic: voter turnout. She emphasized the importance of using the vote that these women had fought so hard for. Not only using the vote but using it wisely; informing oneself on the issues, holding elected officials accountable, and caring about what is happening on the national, state, and local level. 

Civic Engagement is more than just simply participating in the political process, it is about engaging with your own community. Sure it may seem silly to think that just by voting alone someone can make a difference, but it is more than just the act of voting; it is what that act represents. 

To vote well, you have to educate yourself about what is going on in the world around you. Not just about the issues that affect you, but about the issues that affect us all. By engaging with your community you hear a story that you otherwise would not have heard. 

Voting should never be only about you. In fact, that would be impossible. Through voting, we all have the ability to make a change in our communities, in avenues that we may never have had exposure to. You could be a non-disabled person voting on increasing accessibility. You could have no experience with the armed forces voting on veteran services. You could be a man voting on anything to do with women’s reproductive rights.

In order to vote well you need to be able to view life from multiple different lenses. Requiring direct engagement with the people in your community. That engagement with the diversity present in our communities can only serve to enrich ourselves, and our political process. 

The Kevin B. Harrington Student Ambassador program at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics has been rolling out numerous programs focused on Civic Engagement for Constitution Month. This is a month-long celebration of the anniversary of the signing of the constitution in September of 1787.

In addition to “The Woman’s Hour”, the Civic Engagement Committee has hosted a lecture on the importance of Civic Engagement and Civility with Judd Gregg and Joe McQuaid, and co-programmed with Campus Ministry for a 9/11 memorial.

One of the chairs of the committee, Brendan Flaherty ‘21, commented that they are “attempting to engage students across campus in some new and exciting ways”. One of these initiatives is called “Pickup and Politics” which is a co-sponsored program with Green Team where attendees will spend an afternoon cleaning campus while discussing important environmental issues. 

Providing opportunities for the campus to come together to discuss the world we live in is an essential part of cultivating a community of respect. Co-Chair Melanie Fey ‘20 commented that she “plans every event with the hopes of connecting with as many students as possible”. She went on to say that “it is crucial that we take the time to educate and engage these topics because one day our generation will be the ones elected into office”. 

In addition to the events already planned, the Civic Engagement Committee of the Kevin B. Harrington Student Ambassadors is hosting National Voter Registration Day on Alumni Quad, Tuesday, September 24th from 11:30-1:30. There will be free Ben and Jerry’s with volunteers ready to register other students to vote, or request absentee ballots from their home states.