The three Boston University Student Government slates, Can’t B Without U, Becoming United and The BU Ignition, explained their visions for the future of SG in a debate Tuesday night.
Jonathan Donald, a College of Arts and Sciences senior, proctored the debate in front of an audience of about 40 and asked each slate a series of questions based on their plans if elected and motivations for running.
To open the debate, held in the George Sherman Union Back Court, Donald asked what the candidates and their respective slates consider to be their main mission and biggest passion. Thatcher Hoyt, Becoming United’s candidate for VP for internal affairs, said his slate’s main goal is to identify themselves with student groups in order to effectively help them.
“What I found from my time working at BU [is] we have 16,000 kids with 16,000 voices going in 16,000 different directions,” Hoyt, a School of Management junior, said. “Our job is to bring together all 16,000 as best as we can and accurately represent them.”
Dexter McCoy, The BU Ignition’s presidential candidate, said his slate’s main goal is to change SG from a reactive organization to a proactive organization.
“Every time we have gone to administration … they say the decision was already made,” McCoy, a College of Communication junior, said. “We must get a seat at the table where decisions are made, [and] break down the bureaucracy.”
Luke Rebecchi, presidential candidate with Can’t B Without U said his slate’s mission is to use SG as a channel of communication for students on campus and BU administrators.
“We should realize that there’s a lot we can do without the signature of the administrators,” Rebecchi, a College of Arts and Sciences junior, said. “We can take the things that you [students] are doing and bring it to administrators.”
Donald asked the slates which qualities they sought while choosing candidates and what traits they believe are most important.
McCoy said the people who serve in SG must be passionate individuals that members of the community feel comfortable working and serving with, much like his Executive VP candidate and CAS freshman, Saurabh Mahajan, his VP of finance candidate and School of Management junior Aditya Rudra and his VP of internal affairs candidate and School of Education freshman Bonnie Tynes.
“We need someone who can implement things in a timely fashion, [and] this is something we see in the great Saurabh Mahajan,” McCoy said. “[We also have] Bonnie Tynes, who is very organized in the realm of knowing how to communicate with people.”
Edmo Gamelin, Becoming United’s presidential candidate, said his slate’s greatest asset is that each candidate embraces the diversity within BU’s student body.
“We butt heads a lot, but I think that is for the benefit of the students of our campus,” Gamelin, a CAS junior, said. “Our real goal is not to create one voice, but rather harmonize them, to bring them all together.”
Gamelin said his slate’s ability to facilitate conversation between groups as much as possible is essential to the success of SG.
“We need to help each other become passionate about the issues that affect others,” he said. “We need to show that people are willing to help each other.”
In the second part of the debate, Donald opened questions up to the audience. Students could ask questions to individual candidates or to slates as a whole.
Issa Kenyatta, an SMG freshman, asked the slates what kind of legacy they want to leave if they are elected.
Rebecchi said he would like his slate to leave a legacy where students have a voice to determine their own values, and what is most important to them.
“I am not running for [BU] president to be talked about in 20 or 30 years,” Rebecchi said. “I’m running so that in 20 or 30 years we can talk about the things [BU] students did.”
In a closing statement, Lauren LaVelle, SG’s current executive VP and SMG junior, said she was overwhelmed by the excitement and passion that was displayed by each of the candidates during the debate.
“These are 12 very passionate individuals,” LaVelle said. “… I hope that no matter what happens in this election, they all continue to be involved in Student Government. In the end, they all need to ‘walk the walk’ and come together, no matter what happens.”