Jocelyn Buggy ‘22
The Student Government Association’s annual election cycle began last Friday, April 9. Students from the classes of 2024, 2023, and 2022 announced their candidacy for SGA Class Senators, Senators-at-Large, Council, and Cabinet positions. In previous semesters, candidates have introduced themselves in a popular event known as “Meet the Candidates.” Typically held in the Rehm Library or Levi Browsing Room, the event usually draws an engaged group of Holy Cross students excited to hear about the campaign policies. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, however, SGA had to adapt the event to fit a virtual environment.
On Wednesday April 13, the Holy Cross Judicial Council Instagram featured a series of posts and IGTV videos as part of their virtual “Meet the Candidates” initiative for the 2021 elections. Class Senate, Council, and Senate-at-Large candidates were asked to submit a picture and an accompanying message about why they were campaigning for election. Many of the messages detailed what candidates hope to accomplish in SGA during the 2021-2022 school year, their previous leadership experience both in SGA and in other student organizations, and individual characteristics that qualified them for their desired SGA positions. Students are able to like, comment, and share each post through direct messages as well as their personal account stories.
The most popular posts within the “Meet the Candidates” series are related to the four Class of 2022 students who announced their candidacy for 2021-2022 SGA Co-Presidents academic year. Maggie Ober ‘22 and Connor McNerney ‘22 are campaigning against Chris Herndon ‘22 and Cole Howard ‘22 for the highly coveted positions. The Ober/McNerney and Herndon/Howard campaigns were both asked to record brief videos introducing themselves and their policy goals. These videos, each approximately three minutes long, were posted on the SGA Judicial account’s IGTV page and have received over 1,500 views combined.
Ober and McNerney emphasized their combined six year SGA experience, as well as their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in their campaign video. The team shared that they both began as Senate Clerks during their first year at Holy Cross. They described their journey of working up to their current positions as Co-Director of Public Affairs (Ober) and Chair of Internal Affairs and Legislative Secretary (McNerney). McNerney summarized their goals for the presidency, saying: “As SGA co-presidents, we plan to collaborate with the administration while holding them accountable for their promises. In our position, we will advocate for the best interests of the student body, support the campaign to increase need-based financial aid and advocate for additional ways to attract low-income students to the College, and frequently attend the meetings of individual MSOs and IBOs. We will also commit to attending the Odyssey program, Gateways International Student Orientation, and Passport to encourage and increase diversity within the SGA. In addition to these promises, we have developed concrete policies which can be found on our official campaign website.”
Howard and Herndon detailed a wide variety of initiatives that they hope to implement as Co-Presidents in their IGTV video. Both new to SGA but established in other organizations on campus, the pair discussed the importance of increasing mental health resources for students on campus in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. “For the past three years, I have put myself through school financially which has led to an immense amount of stress and it has taken a great toll on my mental health,” Herndon said. “Many others are struggling with their own mental health after this pandemic. As students and as an administration, we need to prioritize putting resources into the counseling center, by hiring additional counselors, instituting QPR training, instituting a Pass/Fail option, instituting mental health days as excused absences.”
Herndon and Howard described other programs they hope to implement if elected, including a review of Residence Life & Housing’s alcohol and cannabis policies, a mentorship network for young alumni, and the creation of a SGA Cabinet position that focuses specifically on first-year student experience. Herdon closed the team’s video, saying: ““Both Cole and myself are passionate about creating a community where every student feels welcomed, appreciated, and connected with one another. Our experience as students and working with students has shown that many others on campus feel that the time for change is now. We are all in this together, and it is time to believe in ourselves.”
Elections begin on Monday, April 19th, and voting ends on Wednesday, April 21st. Students can cast their vote on MyHC and are encouraged to review the 2021 “Meet the Candidates” posts by visiting @hcjcouncil on Instagram.
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