Image Courtesy of Hands to Serve, Hearts to Lead
By Eva Lynch
Spring semester at Catholic University has long been characterized by vibrant campaigns and contentious elections for the Student Government Association’s Executive Board. This year’s ticket for the 2021-2022 Executive Board features two campaigns: WeCU and Hands to Serve, Hearts to Lead.
Hands to Serve, Hearts to Lead
Junior psychology and politics double major Abby Anger is the campaign’s presidential candidate. Apart from running for next year’s SGA executive board, Anger serves as a student minister and is a member of Cardinals for Life, Student Philanthropy Council, and the politics department advisory board. She is also the secretary in the current SGA administration.
Vice presidential candidate is junior economics major Monica Wallace, who is involved in Cardinal Service Corps, Freshman Orientation as an Orientation Advisor, Take Flight with the Center for Cultural Engagement, and serves as the co-president of She’s the First.
“We’re running because we love our university,” said Anger. “But we also see room for improvements and change. Since we’re both involved and have relationships with students across campus because of our wide array of involvement, we really have the connections to students to be able to hear their voices and represent them well.”
In pursuit of this representation, the Hearts and Hands campaign is focused on Title IX reform, apoliticality, particularly in the Senate, as well as other initiatives focused on community building, executive budget fiscal responsibility, and student health. The team has been planning their campaign since the end of last semester and is focused on including students’ voices throughout, as evident in a unique initiative to include over 25 student leaders on their advisory board. Past executive campaigns have included three or four students.
The publication of one of the pillars of their campaign, apoliticality, has raised concerns, mostly based in equivocation, among students who are voting. Wallace clarified that this pillar means the team will focus on student needs instead of worrying about partisanship.
“Apoliticality is not something that’s complacent or ignores the voices of marginalized students. Apoliticality is being able to look at a situation and see what is going to be best for the university community as a whole,“ Wallace said. “Our experiences and involvement speak to a holistic understanding of all of Catholic University. We’re not speaking just for specific groups on campus; we’re able to see them all.”
The Hands and Hearts ticket also includes tresorial candidate Curtis Bommer and secretarial candidate Phil Ahearn. Anger shared that both are “very highly qualified and have a wealth of experience.”
“Curtis has been on the Treasury Board for two years; he’s currently the Treasurer Pro Tempore, who’s the second in command. He has a great grasp of what it means to be in that role, but he also has such a warm and welcoming personality,” Anger said. “Phil has done amazing work in the Office of Campus Activities through his position as student coordinator for Orientation. He ran all of OCA’s outreach and communication through that position, so he’s very highly qualified to take over SGA’s communication.”
The team is also employing current vice president Gemma del Carmen as their campaign manager. Students can refer to current president Gerald Sharpe’s recent communication that clarifies no student serving on the current executive board who is also running a campaign is involved in the election process.
Their campaign is also a historical one, as if they are elected, Anger and Wallace would be the first all-female pair to grace the top of the Executive.
“I honestly was shocked when I realized that there hadn’t been another pair of female candidates,” said Wallace. “Especially now, during Women’s History Month and recognizing all the different ways that women had to fight to be valued as equal, it’s really exciting to be able to put forth two women as leaders as well as to be the first in SGA.”
“We can make some progress there. It also ties into the Title IX reforms we want to do, because there are definitely things to which a female perspective is particularly valuable to, especially considering in the majority of cases, women are the ones experiencing sexual assault.”
Wallace and Anger believe their varied involvement on campus, as well as intentionality in relationship building, makes them the best fit to lead the CUA community through next year. The team’s policy plans also boast actionable ideas instead of simply calls for broader improvements, such as their initiative for a student task force in pursuit of Title IX reforms.
There has been some concern across campus about Anger’s current involvement in the SGA sphere. Alongside Sharpe’s recent communication, Anger clarified that she has no involvement in the election proceedings and sees her experience as a strength of her presidential bid.
“The people that are representing the student body should be involved in the student body and should have those leadership positions and experiences elsewhere on campus. You get to know students, to interact with students, and to really build those intentional relationships that will be critical to representing them well in SGA,” Anger said. “How can you represent the voices of students if you’re not involved with them in campus life? You can’t.”
“There has been tangible change in the areas I’ve controlled,” Anger continued. “I wouldn’t be running if I didn’t want to make different changes from the current president. There are areas that I’ve disagreed with him and areas in which I see opportunities for real improvement and change. We’re taking a different approach of servant leadership. Having the opportunity to serve as the president and vice president is the most accessible way to enact real change on campus.”
If elected, the team’s first few weeks will focus on revamped and more comprehensive training for senators as well as opening the doors to conversations with administrators in pursuit of increased transparency with the students they serve.
“If elected, we’re excited to serve the students. That’s why we’re running,” Anger said. “The job of the president and vice president is to represent and advocate for students’ needs, and that’s what we’re here to do.”
All of these initiatives and sentiments fall under the campaign’s motto, inspired by the Mother Teresa quote, “Give your hands to serve and your hearts to love.”
“Our motto ‘Hands to Serve, Hearts to Lead’ really embodies our campaign and our hopeful executive’s approach: true servant leadership, authentic relationship building, and genuineness,” Anger said.
“We are coupling this with well-thought-out and representative policy ideas,” Wallace added. “We’re making sure that the things we want to do are tangible and practical, so that we can put them into action to better the community.”
Voting day is quickly approaching on April 6. Students should log on to The Nest before 10 pm EST to cast their votes for next year’s SGA executive board as well as other elected positions. You can also follow each campaign on their various social media platforms: Hands and Hearts, WeCU.