Student Body Elections

Diego Benites, Crier Staff

Student body elections are currently underway, and before we cast our ballot for the next Student body President/Vice President, we must remember why these elections are so important. The Student Government is a powerful resource which can be used to serve the Student body. The Student Body currently faces numerous issues–many of which you have probably already read about in the Senate minutes or in the Crier. These problems vary from the availability of milk alternatives in Dave–they’re there just ask a Dave staff member if you can’t find them–and to ensuring that all students feel respected and welcomed here on the hilltop.

It is the latter that troubles me the most. Hospitality is not only good policy but is one of the core values of our Benedictine identity. When people don’t feel welcomed or respected here, I get concerned. Concerned that we are not living up to our principles and to our full potential.

I know what it’s like to be part of an institution that discriminates and belittles an individual for who they are and for factors outside of their control. When I was 14, a teacher told me I was not worthy to receive an education because I am disabled. Although my parents and I protested to the administration, no disciplinary action was undertaken. I was crushed. An institution that was supposed to instill values of citizenship in their students had belittled me so greatly. The personal impact this event had on me cannot be described into words.

I understand this issue at Saint Anselm is not to the same extent that it was at my previous school. However, this is an issue that has plagued the larger society and impacted so many to various degrees. To invoke societal change, we must start small. This means enacting change here on the hilltop right now. We have the potential to become the city upon a hill which institutions will model for years to come. We can get there, but this journey must begin with us–the students.

The DEI action plan committee, and the work that is being done is not only encouraging but inspiring. Dr. Diaz, Prof. Holder and the entire committee are dedicated towards a common mission. A mission to ensure that equity, respect and our Benedictine identity are alive and well

within our college community; a mission to create a culture where all are welcomed and feel like they belong and are accepted; and a mission to create an institution of enlightenment which casts out ignorance. The administration and faculty are charting this course towards this prosperous future, and we–the students–must join them in this noble crusade.

To bridge this gap between the administration/faculty and the student body, the student government must act. Act by listening to the concerns of the student body, to articulate these concerns to the administration and faculty through respectful and engaging dialogue, and by crafting initiatives and programs to serve this desired culture of belonging. The SGA has the ability to accomplish all of this. I’ve seen it achieve great accomplishments, and it can achieve even more.

The current Crump/Mickens administration has shown us the student government’s capabilities. The Benedictine way campaign has served this community well. It has taught us to respect ourselves, respect this campus, and to serve others. All are great feats that have been accomplished with great leadership. It is great leadership that is required to strive towards this noble mission.

The next administration must reflect on the actions of the previous administrations–both good and bad–to guide them towards this city upon a hill. They must always live in accordance with our Benedictine principles and identity. They must also live up to the principles and goals inscribed in our Student Government preamble: “We, the students of Saint Anselm College, in order to promote respectful dialogue, inclusion, hospitality, and cooperation within the student body and other vital branches of this college community, so that we live up to our Benedictine values and identity, do ordain and establish the Student Government Association Constitution.” When you cast your vote on March 15th, remember that the Student Government represents you. Who do you want to lead the student up to the city upon a hill?