Nanci Fiore-Chettiar and Chris Marchese, both A&S '15, hope to use their experience in and outside of UGBC to make a difference as leaders of the student body. Fiore-Chettiar is a sociology major from Westerly, RI, and Marchese is a history and political science double-major from Long Island.
They spoke to the Gavel about their personal passions and vision for the future of UGBC.
What in your platform sets you apart?
Nanci: The biggest thing that sets us apart is the fact that we’ve been really transparent with it--very open and honest. Because we’ve been in the organizations and just through the relationship with the administration outside UGBC, we know what is possible in the year and what is not. That’s why this year we created feasibility ratings for every single platform point, so that we can really be upfront with the student body, because a lot of times people run on things are not getting it done. We want to be honest, and that is why everything in there is said in a certain way. We are going to set up a timeline actually and it is almost finished.
Chris: We have six markers of time and they say how we would use that time to implement everything that we are working on.
N: We can show that we know what we want to do and we know how we want to do it, which is very important than just saying this is what we want to do.
How would you currently describe the relationship between UGBC and the student body, and what do you want to change?
N: I think basically, what it comes down to, is that the student body doesn't trust UGBC, and that's what next year's administrations, whether it's ours or Lucas and Vance's, needs to do. They need to ensure that the student body actually has faith in the organization. And there are a ton of reasons why they don't...I can totally understand why the student body is frustrated. I myself am frustrated, and that's really why we're running.
C: I think UGBC has been like a Blockbuster when it needs to be a Netflix. When you look at UGBC for the past 20 years, it has always had the same complaints of being distant from the student body. As BC students get busier and busier, they don't have time necessarily to take interest in what UGBC is doing. But I think UGBC can do a lot more to be online. For me, having an online presence that is really strong is really important. One of the things I've been working on is called "online voice" and it's an online website where students can go post ideas and questions and it goes directly to UGBC.
What is the biggest need you perceive in the student government?
C: Students are not involved in university decision-making policies, which is kind of a problem because the university exists for the students, we don't exist for the university. I want to see-- OK, let's get all the players at the table, so we have the administration, we have the Jesuits, oh yeah--let's add some students.
N: That's where the trust that the student body has in UGBC is so important, because, if the student body doesn't trust UGBC, then the administration has no reason to really listen to UGBC and take them seriously because they're not really representing the students.
Sexual assault is a huge national issue on college campuses. Do you think BC should amend its current sexual assault policies? How so?
N: So, this is something that we're pretty passionate about. We sponsored a resolution that mandated that all Student Assembly have bystander education. That's something that I feel very strong about. It's something that we have in our platform, to ensure that all of UGBC, and not just Student Assembly, get the training. So we sponsored this resolution but it didn't get passed, and that was something that was really frustrating for me.
On a larger scale, I think it's really important to acknowledge that sexual assault and violence is not just a women's issue. It's not a women's issue, it's a gender issue, because, a lot of the time, there is a male on the other side of that. I really think that we need to start addressing both sides of it.
C: I think that what happens is that this campus needs to wake up and has to realize that, yeah, we have a beautiful campus, we have some great students here, but there are also bad things that happen. And we can't just shut that out, we can't just ignore it. We can't just say, when something bad happens, oh--go to the WRC. They'll take care of it.
N: There is this idea that rape and sexual assault is something that happens when you are a bad person, but the binge drinking culture at BC absolutely contributes to that, and it becomes an excuse a lot of the time. It becomes a way for us to pretend that it doesn't happen here, when, in reality, it is an issue.
How do you feel about BC’s 10-year plan?
C: I love this--at one point I wanted to be an architecture major. The 10 year plan has some really good things in it, and I like the direction, but I am curious as to why the 10-year plan doesn't put more of an emphasis on a student center. I think that should be the number one priority.
How would you describe your relationship with your running mate in three words?
C: Three words is hard...I feel like three memories might be easier. The first memory that I would pick is when we were passing the UGBC budget and Nanci got up and articulated what I was trying to say in a very succinct and articulate way. That was what initiated me to say, like, we have to become friends. My second memory would be when we had to go get paint...
N: I would say this too!
C: Yeah, so a few weeks ago we had to go get paint, and we were stuck in a lot of traffic, and we were driving for so long. We put the radio on and were singing to all these songs, and I was like--this is awesome. Sometimes Nanci and I get the reputation for being "serious," but then when you hear us singing "Sweet Home Alabama," I'm pretty sure you get a different perception of us.
N: Third memory, for me, it would be when you came into the office and you were really excited about that letter to the editor that you wrote--
C: Yes! Oh my god...
N: He was talking about what UGBC used to be and how we could take it there again, and he really believed we needed to. That was the moment when I began seriously considering running with Chris, if I decided to run. I realized that we have the same vision for UGBC and how important that is.
C: Three words though? So, buffalo chicken, but that should only count as one. Snapchat.
N: Oh my god, yes! That's our main form of communication.
C: Third is balance.
Why should students care about this election and vote?
N: I think what it comes down to is, we complain, all the time about a lot of stuff on campus and we also talk, all the time, about how we are men and women for others. We have so many things that are happening of campus, that we could actually have an effect on, if we had leaders we believe in and who are working towards what we expect of them.
This year in particular, with the whole constitution reform and with programming splitting, is going to be pivotal. We are going to be a lot less visible if the leaders don't take that step to make it more relevant to the student body, because everything is going to be so much policy work.
What do you order at late night?
N: He's definitely a chicken finger guy. I'm a mozzarella sticks girl, but we love buffalo chicken. You know what we should start doing?
C: We should start splitting. We eat Late Night a lot now, just because we're up so late. But the hard thing is, usually for dinner I have buffalo chicken, but then for Late Night, I have to switch over to chicken fingers. Or vice-versa.
Elections for UGBC president and vice-president will be held online on Tuesday, Feb. 18 and Wednesday, Feb. 19 via OrgSync.
This interview was co-authored by Jing Xu and Geena De Rose.