Junior Andrew McDermott and sophomore Benjamin Cloutier are in agreement about what challenges Quinnipiac will face in the upcoming years, but the candidates for student government president have different ideas about how to best serve the student body.
At the Student Government Association executive board debates on Monday night, McDermott brought up familiar student complaints about Quinnipiac’s meal plan and housing selection process. Cloutier, who led the effort to expand the Bobcat Den’s hours last semester, focused on increasing communication between SGA and the student body.
“We’re not really doing much help to anyone if they don’t know about it or if they can’t give any input,” Cloutier said.
McDermott and Cloutier, current presidents of their respective classes, both saw problems stemming from Quinnipiac’s quick expansion from one campus to three. McDermott said that student life needed to grow to match the university’s physical expansion.
“At the office of undergraduate admissions, where I work, we tell all prospective Bobcats that we are three settings, one university,” he said. “How can we say that when we don’t have reliable transportation and student life on all three campuses?”
McDermott wants to create a five-year plan for student life at Quinnipiac, including the possibility of creating three separate Student Programming Boards, one for each campus.
Cloutier brought up the possibility of bringing a “university hour” back to Quinnipiac. This would mean altering class schedules to create a one hour period during the week where there would be no classes. It is meant to encourage attendance at student events and participation in organizations by alleviating scheduling conflicts.
McDermott said that while a university hour is a great idea, he did not think it was feasible right now.
“You would have to add another academic building [on the Mount Carmel campus], otherwise you’re going to be adding more Saturday classes,” he said.
Both candidates also support expanding SGA, but they had different ideas about how to go about it. In an interview with the Chronicle, Cloutier said he would like to add two representatives to the junior and senior classes, as there are currently eight representatives for freshmen and sophomores and only six for juniors and seniors.
McDermott had a more unorthodox idea for adding new members to SGA. Instead of simply adding members to certain classes, he would like to give representation to other campus populations.
“I feel that right now, what it is is a popularity contest,” he said. “Yes, this is how real world politics go, but at the same time if we are able to have Athletics have two chairs, Greek life have four chairs, religious groups have another three chairs, something of that concept, then I feel personally that we would be able to better address students’ needs.”
Cloutier stressed that he was already working for students and would continue to so, regardless of the election outcome.
“I want to do something. I hear about it and I do it,” he said. “That’s the difference between me and my opponent I think. There’s a lot of different ideas getting tossed around, but I’m actually working on the ones I want to see accomplished currently, presently. I’m not waiting around.”
Read statements from McDermott and Cloutier here.
Photo credit: Ilya Spektor