Throughout the course of this year’s Undergraduate Government of Boston College (UGBC) election cycle, The Gavel has closely followed the two campaigns for President & Executive Vice President (EVP). Each team prioritized the expansion of mental health resources, advocating for students from marginalized backgrounds, and wanting to change Boston College because of their love for The Heights. After interviewing each team of candidates and examining their platforms, The Gavel editorial board is proud to endorse Lubens Benjamin, CSOM ‘23, and Julia Spagnola, MCAS ‘23, for the 2022-2023 UGBC President & Executive Vice President.
Benjamin and Spagnola’s platform represents an ambitious, yet pragmatic approach to leadership in UGBC. Their four pillars (Inclusive Culture; Academic Experience; Student Life; Institutional UGBC) encompass everything a UGBC presidential team should hope to improve upon during their tenure. More importantly, for Benjamin and Spagnola, these aren’t just words on a paper—their platform includes specific action items that the team will take once in office to achieve the broader pillars on which they’re campaigning, like providing additional funding to the Thea Bowman AHANA Intercultural Center and expanding access to women’s menstrual products in restrooms around campus.
With a combined five years of UGBC experience under their belt, Benjamin and Spagnola are uniquely equipped to navigate the intricacies of student government and realize their goals. Importantly, as the AHANA Leadership Council (ALC) Director and member of the Academic Affairs Committee, Benjamin and Spagnola already have extensive experience communicating and collaborating with members of the administration. As Benjamin explained, the transition from being seen as ALC Director to being seen as UGBC President would be seamless, allowing the team to continue working closely with the administration from day one of their tenure. The team’s well-developed network is an essential component of The Gavel’s confidence in their ability to achieve all of their proposed policies.
Benjamin and Spagnola’s UGBC experience also informs their short- and long-term agenda as President and EVP. Their LGBTQ+ student policies, for example, include strong, consistent advocacy for a permanent student resource center in tandem with tangible policies that will help provide a more inclusive experience for queer students on campus in currently-existing spaces. One such policy—implementing a full-time staff position in the BAIC dedicated specifically to supporting LGBTQ+ students of color—well embodies the intersectionality The Gavel expects from a student government that represents the entire student body.
Benjamin and Spagnola’s accessibility platform is particularly impressive, and bears specific mention. The team notes that “the slogan ‘The Heights’ represents how Boston College’s campus is inherently inaccessible to people with disabilities,” and lays out clear, achievable policy goals that will have immediate impact on Boston College students with disabilities. They plan to “enhance lecture capture technology” in classrooms and improve closed captioning for all BC-produced videos, including those at sanctioned events, as well as in Panopto recordings. Their platform also, notably, includes provisions for immunocompromised students and students with hearing impairments, who still feel the effects of COVID-19 on BC’s campus.
Beyond their progressive platform, interconnectedness with students and administrators at Boston College, and proven ability to succeed in student government, we were struck by an often-overlooked aspect of UGBC candidates—the team’s cohesiveness. Throughout the interview, Benjamin and Spagnola demonstrated a sense of unity, respect, and friendship that we feel is distinct from the other candidate team. What’s more, as Spagnola explained, the two “aren’t afraid to challenge each other and grow”—an essential aspect of their relationship that The Gavel is confident will translate into their leadership in the next academic year.
Voting for UGBC President and Executive Vice President will take place on Tuesday, April 5th from 12:00 – 8:00 pm on MyBC.