Breakdown of the candidates: 2018 Student Body President

The effort that goes into preparing for a role like Student Body President (SBP) is vital to what makes a student the best for the job. For this reason, Jess Errico and Mia Connell are the leaders NC State students need. However, paired with her running mate Meredith Spence Beaulieu, the Jess + Meredith team make for a duo that is outstandingly well prepared to advocate on behalf of the student body.

Errico and Connell each emanate an air of professionalism, and for good reason. They are both deeply experienced and have the vision and pragmatism it takes to effectively lead. Each of them have proven this with their record in Student Government (SG), and Errico’s résumé features notable leadership experience outside of SG, as well.

Alberto & Zach

(Photo used with permission of Vote Alberto & Zach)

Alberto Quiroga is running for SBP again this year after a campaign that fell flat last time. His campaign, from a field of four, received less than 18 percent of the vote in last year’s election, despite (or perhaps because of) Technician’s endorsement of his ticket.

Zach Lewis is his running mate and a third year with experience in Student Government and Interfraternity Council. Lewis’ connections in Fraternity and Sorority Life may prove integral to success as such connections have in years past for other candidates.

However, a perusal of Quiroga’s and Lewis’ platform reveals a lack of nuance and pragmatism that would be required of them to effect change from SG’s executive branch. As Spence Beaulieu pointed out during Tuesday night’s debate, Quiroga’s proposal to extend childcare services to graduate students is fraught with pitfalls. Their platform indicates an oversight of the complicated nature underlying the problems they hope to solve.

Taylor and Cat

(Photo used with permission of Technician)

Taylor Pulliam comes into this race on an appeal to the SG Board of Elections and is as much of an outsider as this race has ever seen. He is the president of Grains of Time, and neither he or his running mate Cat Duble have any experience in Student Government.

Although Pulliam and Duble can put together a platform, organize a campaign, and even speak passionately to the issues on which they’re running, they simply do not have the experience or knowledge to be effective in the roles for which they are running. They will be successful in their final years at NC State (they are both third-year students), but they will struggle monumentally if faced with the task of representing the student body from the executive branch.

For anyone hoping SBP candidate Taylor Pulliam could, if elected, successfully propose his new parking lot between Dan Allen and Greek Court, I have unfortunate news: none of this year’s candidates are the cult of personality it would take to successfully initiate—let alone complete—a student-proposed infrastructure project of that scale. If any student leader could do something like that, it would have been Cathy Sterling.

Mia & Gabby

(Photo used with permission of Mia & Gabby 2018)

Mia Connell is a third year student and has been Student Body Vice President (SBVP) alongside SBP Jackie Gonzalez for the past year. Under Gonzalez and Connell’s leadership, NC State has seen the successful continuation of important programs and initiatives, and the initiation of a few that are also notable.

Connell has been directly involved with bringing general availability of menstrual products to Talley Student Union through a campaign now dubbed “We Bleed Red”. This feat took months of logistics and planning, alongside a funding campaign that needed to be approved by Student Senate, but the program will impact perhaps thousands of students now that it is implemented.

Jess + Meredith

(Photo used with permission of Jess + Meredith 2018)

Jess Errico is going into her fifth year at NC State, and has spent her four years in the judicial branch of SG. Errico is Student Body Chief Justice this year, acting as a bridge between students and staff members of Student Conduct. She’s developed a diplomatic skillset that would be required of her as SBP if she is to be the key student representative in rooms of NC State administrators.

Errico is an exciting candidate, having the pedigree of a student set for a successful career of leadership after college. Errico worked as a Resident Assistant (RA) for Housing in her second year, and was promoted to Assistant Coordinator of the Honors Village as a third-year student. The next year, she was popularly elected to lead the Judicial Branch of SG.

Errico and Connell have both been involved with Student Government since they stepped on campus; Connell was a student senator her first two years, for a total of three in SG, and Errico has been in the judicial branch for four years.

But if experience is so important, you might say Connell is the best candidate for SBP, given that she is basically already in the role as SBVP. Undeniably, Connell’s firsthand and specific knowledge of what the role entails surpasses that of her opponents. This gives her a considerable degree of preparedness as she stands to potentially occupy the role.

However, the reality of the Student Body President is that it is a role firmly enabled and aided by the occupant of its right hand, the Student Body Vice President. Connell alone may be more prepared for SBP than Errico, but Errico and her running mate Meredith Spence Beaulieu together make one of the strongest tickets for SBP and SBVP from recent memory. Spence Beaulieu would be a key to the success of Errico’s administration.

Anybody watching the first half of the Student Government Debate Tuesday night hosted by Student Media will likely admit to being left with a strong impression of Spence Beaulieu. She happened to sit in the middle of the other two candidates who attended, and it quickly became apparent that she indeed belonged at center stage. Spence Beaulieu is a diplomatic and effective speaker, which would be key to her success as Student Body Vice President.

But don’t just rely on a character judgement from one event sway you. Spence Beaulieu is a PhD student in entomology (that’s the insects one), entering her fifth year in the program and her ninth at NC State; she previously attended NC State for her undergraduate degree, and was heavily involved with research. She has experience and familiarity with NC State like no other individual candidate has this year.

Importantly, Spence Beaulieu has also learned the ropes of Student Government; she has been involved with her department’s Graduate Student Association (GSA) for three years, and the university’s GSA for two, working her way to top positions of each of each group. She also has experience with SG, which is the general governing body of NC State students.

I can say emphatically that Jess Errico and Meredith Spence Beaulieu have what it takes to be Student Body President and Student Body Vice President. If you trust experience, you can trust them.

Final note

Having worked on the Biechele + Mitchell campaign in last year’s election for Student Body President and SBVP, I’ve seen firsthand the stresses that are associated with campaigning in this race.

To anybody reading this who has not worked on a campaign: I think all candidates in the running this year deserve deference for putting themselves in the public eye for close scrutiny and judgement. I think we can take each of them at their word when they say this is important to them.