On Sunday March 26, the Student Government Association (SGA) held an inauguration ceremony to induct the new administration and class councils. The proceedings opened with an awards ceremony that honored students, professors, and faculty who contributed positively to the betterment of the college. Incumbent President Emily Bishop ‘18 and Vice President Brandon Pratt ‘18 were then sworn in after a successful campaign hinging on their ability to fulfill past and future promises to the student body.
Dean of Students Alicia Finn helped open proceedings with an extended metaphor about leadership and geese. She discussed how geese “travel on the thrust and trust of one another” in their famous V formation. According to Dean Finn, a whole flock of geese flies 71 percent further by working together. As each goose flaps its wings, they create lift which propels the geese following it.
“Each one gets to experience and dynamically draw on the energy of the whole flock,” Finn noted. “If we have the same good sense of a goose… we will accept [each other’s] help.”
She continued that, “each goose stands ready to take the lead spot, or drop out and support those that fall behind.” The ability to adapt to different situations and to work for the common good are hallmarks of strong leadership and are exhibited daily by the officers and members of SGA, according to Finn.
Dean Finn also addressed the senior members of SGA. She praised the Class of 2017 for modeling “critical thinking interwoven with compassion,” adding that the Class of 2018 had “much to live up to.” Finn emphasized that the senior SGA members exemplified the school’s mission while revealing the true meaning of being Benedictine and Anselmian.
As part of the ceremony, several awards were distributed to honor members of the Saint Anselm community who have had a tremendous impact on the school and student body. From SGA members to faculty and staff, the ceremony commemorated the recipients’ unwavering commitment to bettering Saint Anselm to the best of their unique capabilities.
Emily Mazza ‘17 began the awards ceremony by presenting the Abbot Gerald McCarthy Award to Professor of the Year Peter Cordella. Mazza gave a touching speech that commemorated her personal connection to the chair of the Criminal Justice department. She noted that Dr. Cordella was essential in her decision to attend Saint Anselm College, and that they grew close over the course of her work study with the department, a job he offered to her.
The Dr. Constance Richards and Dr. Alicia Finn Awards were co-presented by President Bishop and Vice President Pratt to Laura Manning and Don Moreau, respectively. Manning, who works in the Coffee Shop, was recognized for her “selflessness and unwavering dedication” to the student body. Moreau received his award for his tremendous assistance in coordinating with the SGA regarding student requests for the new Roger and Francine Jean Student Center Complex.
Andrew Keyes ‘18 and Andrew Shue ‘18, the Secretary and Assistant Secretary of Club Affairs, presented the Fr. Peter Guerin Award to the Dance Club for their commitment to their club and to the Saint Anselm community. Keyes noted that from cheering at football games to community service, Dance Club worked hard to have a positive impact at Saint Anselm College.
The portion of the evening dedicated to awards concluded with the Dr. Jospeh Horton SGA Member of the Year Award. Dr. Joseph Horton, Mazza, and Robert Merritt ‘17 co-presented the prize to Amy Vachon ’17 for her meritorious contributions to the organization. Vachon has been a member of the association for all of her four years at Saint Anselm’s, and served as the Chief of Staff this year as well as Vice President of the Class of 2017.
In his post-inauguration speech, Vice President Pratt described Vachon as “the rock of SGA.” He thanked her for her friendship and for her presence as a role model during his first term in office.
Both Pratt and Bishop used their inauguration speeches to detail their achievements from the past year, emphasizing their campaign slogan “Promises made, promises kept.” They described the administration’s efforts to clean up campus with the Respect the Nest campaign, which advocates for more recycling and for students to take more responsibility in the upkeep of Saint Anselm. The reelected duo also spoke about their involvement in creating a council for college president Steven R. DiSalvo, revamping the Hawks Advantage program, and in renewing Saint Anselm’s ties to the New England Alliance Conference.
In their second year of leading SGA, Pratt and Bishop promised to continue advocating for more pass/fail classes. According to Pratt, implementation of pass/fail classes would encourage students to enroll in classes out of their “comfort zone,” which would enhance Saint Anselm’s liberal arts learning experience.
The duo also vowed to work on making the campus more handicap accessible and to work more closely with the Multicultural Center. “We believe in making this a campus for everyone,” Pratt said. “Differences make us beautiful.”
“We will continue to put students first, plain and simple,” Bishop added.
The newly reelected president also took time during her speech to address the new and returning members of SGA. She emphasized that their contributions and efforts “have never gone unnoticed,” and that the success the administration enjoyed was largely a result of the cohesion and collaboration within the association.
After the inaugural addresses of Vice President Pratt and President Bishop, the class councils were all sworn into office. The ceremony marked the representatives’ official acceptance of their positions and acceptance of their duties for their respective classes.
The ceremonies concluded with a prayer led by Fr. Mathias Durette, O.S.B. and a brief reception for the student officers and their families.