add_theme_support( 'post-thumbnails' );'The Gavel' Endorses Jonah Kotzen and Meghan Heckelman for UGBC President and Vice President - BANG.
Photo courtesy of Ryan Milligan '26

'The Gavel' Endorses Jonah Kotzen and Meghan Heckelman for UGBC President and Vice President

The Gavel has closely followed the two campaigns for President & Executive Vice President (EVP) in this year’s Undergraduate Government of Boston College (UGBC) election cycle. Both teams are prioritizing progressive platforms focusing on ticket items such as accessibility, mental health, diversity, equity, and inclusion. After extensively interviewing each team, The Gavel Editorial Board is proud to endorse Jonah Kotzen, MCAS ‘24, and Meghan Heckelman, MCAS ‘25, as the 2023–2024 UGBC President and Executive Vice President. 

Through their extensive experience with UGBG and their curation of a diverse campaign team, Kotzen and Heckelman have demonstrated a clear and efficient approach to their potential leadership positions and platforms. They have a unique A4E approach, the four As standing for acceptance, academics, activity, and adjustment, through which they have created a comprehensive understanding of the issues that need to be addressed on Boston College’s campus. 

Not only do Kotzen and Heckelman have a thorough understanding of their policy and the issues here at BC, but they also have specific experience and knowledge within UGBC that makes them capable of implementing these policies. Kotzen first joined UGBC in 2020 as a Student Representative for the Class of ‘24 and has since joined the Council For Students with Disabilities (CSD), but has gone on to become the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Chair within CSD. Heckelman, a sophomore who has quickly progressed in the organization, is involved in the Student Initiatives (SI) and serves as the director of SI. Drawing on their UGBC connections and knowledge, they anticipate a smooth transition of power and efficient execution of their plan. 

While Kotzen and Heckelman have big goals for Boston College, they recognize that change takes time and that a lot needs to change. Instead of promising to have an LGBTQ+ resource center created within their first year in power, they have committed to taking crucial steps towards that goal to ensure success for future UGBC administrations. They believe that they can both successfully enact their political plan as well as lay a strong foundation for the future leaders of Boston College. 

Their sense of responsibility to the future of UGBC has already begun manifesting itself in their current work. “I think that one thing that makes us stand out from our competitors,” says Kotzen, “is the fact that the policies that we have in here, the policies that we've localized are just the natural extension of the work that we're already doing.” Their current work with UGBC coincides directly with their hopes for changes at BC. 

Something that Kotzen is particularly passionate about through his work on the CSD, as well as his own personal experiences, is the issue of campus accessibility. The continued conversation around increasing accessibility at Boston College is one he plans not only to prioritize but add to. Some of these ideas include Mod accessibility, an Upper Campus bus stop, financially supporting students going through the CFLC accommodation process with the help of Montserrat, disability education for professors and students, as well as much more. They are confident in their ability to work with the administration on such policies because of their strong existing relationships. “All of the policies that are here are offices that I’ve already collaborated with,” said Kotzen. “These policies are not things that we’ve just pulled out of thin air.”

Kotzen and Heckelman know they have a lot they want to accomplish, but they also know they cannot do it alone. They have built a campaign team with members from across groups and experiences at BC. Their different policy teams include AHANA+, Accessibility, LGBTQ+, Women & Gender, Montserrat, Academic Affairs, Environmental, Athletics, and Student Initiative teams. Each policy team has up to seven students. They have highlighted these team members on their Instagram

Through both teams’ interviews with The Gavel Editorial Board, we were impressed with each candidate pair’s policies. Ultimately, however, Kotzen and Heckelman seem to have a more comprehensive plan to accomplish said progressive policies. 

Kotzen and Heckelman have clear and concrete political policy ideas. They also work well as a team. They have worked together in the past through UGBC and have the same level of passion for change. This relationship evokes confidence in the pair's ability to successfully lead during the 2023-2024 school year. The Gavel believes that Kotzen and Heckelman would do an excellent job as UGBC President and Executive Vice President. Heckelman stated, “I think connections expedite the work, and even just between the two of us are like real friendship expedites the work, it's a lot easier to get things done when you're working with someone that you like.”

Voting for UGBC President and Executive Vice President will take place on Monday, April 3rd on MyBC.

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