Images courtesy of Elizabeth Huggard and Jackie Shanley
By Eva Lynch
Last week you read about the campaigns running to represent you as next year’s SGA Executive Board; this week, read about the candidates for Program Board President, another highly coveted elected position on campus: Elizabeth Huggard and Jacqueline Shanley.
Program Board, lovingly called “PB” by its members and fans, serves as the university’s premier event-planning organization. Members serve on either Programming or Marketing branches, each working under the guidance of the E-Board to plan and market recreational events for the student body to enjoy. The President’s role in this process is a crucial one of supervision and team-building; specific duties include meeting weekly with the branch vice presidents, planning and executing fall and spring training, and coordinating and relationship-building with other student leaders and organizations. You can find out more about Program Board and the President’s role on the organization’s page on the Nest.
Elizabeth Huggard is a junior early childhood education major from Stewart Manor, New York and is running for PB President out of a desire to reciprocate for others the privileges and experiences she has been afforded having been a member of the Board. Outside of her experience on PB, Elizabeth is involved in the university’s Honors Program, Phi Eta Sigma, and has served as the Head of Planning of Sophomore Connections and as a tutor for DC Reads. She was also recently accepted to serve on the President’s Society for the upcoming school year, a prestigious group of accomplished students who are “considered an integral part of the President’s staff and are designated to attend and assist at various university functions,” according to the President’s Society website.
“I joined Program Board my freshman year as a Programming Assistant, have also served as a Programming Chair, and I’m currently the Assistant to the Vice President of Programming,” Huggard said. “I’m really thankful for Program Board and all that it’s done for me. I’ve made amazing friends because of PB, and I’ve really grown as a student leader, especially this past year in my role working alongside the E-Board. I think I really have the experience and the dedication needed to be PB President.”
If elected, Huggard is excited “to be able to be a resource to others in the way people have been resources to me.” This excitement was reflected in the speech she gave to the rest of the Board on Monday.
Huggard’s campaign and hopeful presidency are characterized by five objectives, all of which are articulated on her campaign’s Instagram. The first is “to increase communication and collaboration between the programming and marketing branches,” which Huggard believes she will be able to accomplish in part because of her experience on the programming branch, as well as because of the opportunity she’s had working alongside E-Board to learn about the marketing branch.
Her next objective is “to continue and increase the current E-Board’s initiative to offer dietary friendly food options at events” such as vegan and gluten-free options for PB event attendees, which has increased, but which Huggard believes can be even more consistently offered.
Next, Huggard hopes “to implement a rewards system for frequent attendees of Program Board events,” whom Huggard believes deserve to be recognized as staunch and consistent supporters of the events PB members work hard to produce.
Fourth, Huggard will “meet regularly with other student leaders to discuss how Program Board can best work with and support their organizations.” Huggard has identified this as one of the areas in which Program Board, as one of the premier organizations on campus, can extend their service on campus to other organizations.
Finally, Huggard hopes to “make as many events as possible accessible to students who are taking classes remotely and not living close to campus.” Though classes in the Fall 2020 semester have been announced as in-person, Huggard expects her hopeful tenure to serve a significant amount of students who remain virtual, and she wants to ensure that these students feel included in PB’s efforts. She also has a personal stake in this mission having served in her positions on the Board virtually in the fall.
Huggard believes her above-mentioned experience on Program Board and in other leadership positions on campus makes her the best fit to lead Program Board to serve the campus community.
“I’m very organized, and I’m passionate about Program Board and so dedicated to my duties,” Huggard said. “Even though I was home last semester, I still made time for every single Program Board meeting and event. My one-on-ones with our advisor, Greta, are optional for my position, and I never missed one. My attendance at E-Board meetings is optional as well, and I’ve been to almost everyone.”
Huggard has identified pros and cons to doing the majority of campaigning online; she misses the opportunity to meet people and campaign in passing on campus but is also appreciative of the opportunity to interact with students from such diverse backgrounds and involvements in the campus community.
Jacqueline Shanley, junior educational studies major with a double minor in politics and public health is from Rockland County, New York, and is running a campaign for PB president centered around the community she hopes to serve, an attitude encompassed by her campaign’s pillars: inclusivity, community, and culture, an explanation of which is available on her campaign’s Instagram.
“The people on this Board are the driving factor to why I want to be President. I have made my best friends on this Board, I’ve made so many professional relationships that I’m grateful for,” Shanley said. “I think about my freshman year and how excited I was to be at Catholic and to meet all these friends, but I felt like there was a piece missing. Getting to be a part of Program Board and getting to experience orientation as a part of PB and being with people who are equally as passionate about welcoming others onto this campus, that is what makes me want to be President.”
Outside of her work on Program Board as a former Programming Assistant and a current Programming Chair, Shanley is also a member of Cardinal Ambassadors, serves as the cultural liaison for the CUA Gaels, and works at the campus bookstore.
If elected, she is excited to urge Program Board members to engage in more collaboration with other organizations on campus, like the Center for Cultural Engagement, Campus Ministry, BSA, and other groups.
“We typically do several collaborations in multiple events throughout the year, but I feel that as a Board, we don’t do as much as we could. I always think we could strive to do better, and we have an opportunity as one of the better advantaged organizations on campus to lift up the voices of other organizations on campus,” Shanley said. “I’ve already started speaking to a couple of organizations about getting involved and I hope to speak to more if elected President.”
She also hopes to encourage Board members to work with more small businesses in the community, an initiative she is already working on in her planning for Founders Day Ball, the catering for which is all being done by small businesses in DC and specifically the Brookland area.
Lastly, she wants to dedicate time and energy to “reestablishing a culture of joy within this Board. The pandemic has resulted in disconnection and lack of communication, and I feel that people have lost their passion for the Board. And that hurts my heart, because I love this Board and I am so grateful for this Board, and I want the members of this Board to feel the same love that I do and be so happy to come to these events and to be on this team.”
She will execute this goal by introducing more bonding experiences during the day-to-day functioning of the Board, instead of in isolated bonding experiences. She hopes the camaraderie engendered by initiatives to pair Board members with others they might not otherwise interact with much will be reflected in the events they put on to serve the student body.
Shanley has encountered and overcome several obstacles to campaigning including those unique to campaigning during a pandemic. Her mostly virtual campaign includes not only getting her name out there but also establishing Program Board’s presence and purpose with students who “haven’t set foot on campus” because of remote learning.
Shanley was also disappointed at not having the opportunity for her presidential speech given to the Board, to be heard by the entire student body.
“We are here to serve this community, and they’re entitled to hear our speeches,” Shanley said. “So I was very disappointed to know that typically the presidential candidates never address the university, and that’s something that if I’m elected, I would love to change for the next election process.”
Shanley’s favorite events she’s been involved in the planning are the three Open Mic Nights she put on as an Assistant, the big risk and reward of her Silent Disco event, her service-based event for Hunger and Homelessness, and this year’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration Shamrock the Block.
Shanley’s words encapsulate best why she is the best fit to lead Program Board: “My heart is in this.”
Students can vote for PB President alongside voting for next year’s SGA Executive Board on April 6, on the Nest.