Russell Simons, MCAS ’17, and Meredith McCaffrey, MCAS ’17, have been elected to serve as the president and executive vice president, respectively, of the Undergraduate Government of Boston College (UGBC) for the 2016-17 academic year, according to the Elections Committee. The pair competed against Matthew Ulrich, MCAS ’17, and John Miotti, MCAS ’17, and Nikita Patel, CSOM ’17, and Joseph Arquillo, LSOE ’17 in an ambitious contest.
The 2016 Undergraduate Government of Boston College election season stretched on over four weeks subsequent to its expected end date — in this time, the Boston College community has witnessed the candidate pool reduced from three teams to one, and then, when the election proceedings were reinstated, grow again to six and then shrink to three teams. The precariousness of this election cycle for the highest student government office is of note in what has been one of the most competitive election cycles in recent years.
The Simons/McCaffrey campaign platform, delineated by the slogan “Strength in Unity,” seeks to improve the quality of student life, build inclusivity across the BC community, and bolster the accessibility of UGBC.
Simons, having served as the vice president of student organizations, and McCaffrey, a senator in the Student Assembly, possess a breadth of UGBC experience, and their platform presents a pragmatic and holistic approach to the challenges UGBC faces in the upcoming year, which range from an uncooperative administration to a student body that can be fractured. By heightening their focus on concrete and achievable issues that span a variety of critical issues while also presenting long-term policy initiatives, Simons and McCaffrey have entered office primed with great potential for administrative success.
The platform presented by Simons and McCaffrey approaches presidential responsibilities realistically whilst bringing ideas that promote concrete change to the forefront, such as creating a conduct audit feature on Agora Portal, expanding and better publicizing programs that focus on conversations about mental health between students, advocating for increased AHANA presence in the faculty, and working with the 10-year Strategic Planning Committee and Student Affairs to provide input on the design of the new student center, advocating for the inclusion of a campus pub and increased dining options.
Both candidates have demonstrated an expertise in the many facets of UGBC in addition to an ability to work within administrative channels in their work on the incubation phase project and the student guide proposal.
With a cohesive and meticulous platform, a wealth of experience, and an evident chemistry, the pair provided encouragement and hope in the midst of a period marred by uncertainty regarding the UGBC student-administration relationship. The pair emphasized an open, accessible line of communication as a focal point of their platform and conducive to success.
Current President Thomas Napoli, A&S ’16, and Executive Vice President Olivia Hussey, A&S ’17, will begin working immediately with Simons and McCaffrey to ensure a smooth transition into office, culminating in their official term beginning in April.
"We are incredibly grateful and humbled to have been chosen to serve as UGBC President and EVP for next year," Simons and McCaffrey commented after receiving news that they won. "We want to thank our supporters and the Elections Committee for an exciting elections season, and also recognize the other candidates for their efforts. We respect the hard work that everyone has put into this campaign season, and hope that we can continue to work with one another in the future. We are extremely excited to get things underway for next year, and are incredibly thankful for everyone who has been involved."