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Bishop and Pratt look to increase inclusivity in their second terms

Madison Trites, News Editor

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A new school year brings the start of a second term for Student Body President Emma Bishop and Student Body Vice President Brandon Pratt, both members of the class of 2018.

The pair were also Student Body President and Vice President during the 2016 and 2017 school year, and they won their reelection last Feb. 2017.  Last year, they worked on putting printers in Davison Hall, sending out Thursday Threes Surveys, and expanding SGA presence on social media.

During SGA speeches, last Feb., Bishop and Pratt mentioned that they wanted to increase handicap accessibility this year.  According to Pratt, this continues to be one of their main focuses.

“First and foremost we’re dedicated to moving Saint Anselm College towards being a handicap accessible campus. Every mother, father, brother, sister, aunt and uncle, grandmother and grandfather should be able to see their loved one’s room as they move away from home and into college for the first time. Every student should be able to visit their friends’ rooms, despite what floor they might live on. In our residence halls that’s unfortunately not a reality for a person with disabilities right now,” explained Pratt in a Crier interview.

Another goal for this administration this year is to ensure that college becomes an even safer and more inclusive atmosphere.  When it comes to safety, there are already policies and precautions in place, but Pratt recognizes that there is always room for improvement.

“In terms of specific policies, we hope to work with College Administration to make Saint Anselm an even safer campus than it already is. We’ve started to work towards that goal already, as Senator Robbins has introduced legislation calling for an increase in the number of campus police officers, a provision requiring that the College employs at least one female campus police officer, as well as the establishment of an on-campus dispatch center,” Pratt explained.

As far as inclusivity, Bishop and Pratt are continuing to work for inclusion of students and their opinions in the Board of Trustee meetings, something that currently does not happen.  “Those making decisions on the future of the College should be hearing from students who will be impacted by such choices the most,” said Pratt.

Not only are Bishop and Pratt working to make changes, but they have noticed a change in how the student body relates to the work they do in student government.  “Rather than operating with blinders on and focusing only on what it is that our own groups and organizations are up to, the student body has really started to ask how we all might work together towards our common goals,” said Pratt, which he believes has the potential to make a positive change in the way the student body engages not only with SGA, but with the broader community.

One of the other things Bishop and Pratt have focused on is bridging the gap between SGA and clubs, organizations, and students, ensuring that students understood that SGA is there to represent them.  Under their administration last year, they began the Senate Guest Speaker Series and the Thursday Threes surveys, both of which were designed to allow students to more directly voice their opinions to SGA.  Pratt says that they have already seen a difference because of this.

“Club presidents have told us that they feel more empowered than ever before because of these changes, and that’s what we’re all about. We’ve worked to change the culture of SGA so that every student feels capable of effecting change themselves and that’s paid off,” he explained.

Students can now also voice their opinions to SGA members in person.  “Students can now come to Senate meetings every Sunday at 4:30 pm in the NHIOP West Wing and speak to us directly about the issues, concerns, and ideas that they think should be addressed” Pratt mentioned.

Pratt says that it’s important for the diversity of the campus to be directly represented in SGA.  “The inclusion of diverse perspectives leads to good governance. Every student brings a unique outlook on the world, and on what we as a College community can be doing better, to the table, he explained”

“By getting involved with the Student Government Association, you help to ensure that no voice goes ignored, that no issue is not fought for, and that no walk of life is overlooked. Getting involved is the first step in effecting change – and working to create a home that is open and accessible to all is what being Anselmian is all about,” says Pratt on the importance of student inclusion in SGA.

Pratt explains that working toward change as Student Body President and Vice President does not come without it’s own set of challenges.  “Emma and I have an incredible team who are always willing to go the extra mile, though. In the past year, we’ve certainly had doors closed in our faces, but we’ve learned how to overcome those challenges to ensure that the students are getting the deal they deserve,” he said.

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Bishop and Pratt look to increase inclusivity in their second terms