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March 18, 2004 • Volume 12 Number 13

Incoming Undergraduate Government of Boston College President Grace Simmons and Vice-President Burnell Holland. (Photo by Kris Brewer)

Simmons, Holland Prepare to Take UGBC Reins

By Stephen Gawlik
Staff Writer

A friendship that began over a campus dining hall toaster is the foundation of the incoming Undergraduate Government of Boston College administration.

Juniors Grace Simmons and Burnell Holland were elected UGBC president and vice president, respectively, last month, defeating the team of sophomores Alexander Gray and Joseph Sabia by 1,655 to 1,558 votes, and will assume office on April 30. Simmons serves the UGBC as chief of academic affairs, and Holland is president of the AHANA Leadership Council.

The veteran student leaders are both political science majors and, as they discovered during freshman year, share a fondness for toasted bagels in the morning.

They first encountered each other three years ago while waiting to use the toasters in Carney Dining Hall and hit it off almost immediately, said Simmons, a native of Skaneateles, NY. "From there we got to know each other and realized we share a lot of the same ideas about Boston College."

Both students say their desire to lead UGBC stems from their high esteem for the university.

"I love being a BC student and could not think of a more serious way to effect some positive change," said Simmons, a student representative on the University's Church in the 21st Century project, which explores the issues underlying the clerical sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church.

Simmons and Holland say they will strive to "be out there" and plan to make communications a key focus of their administration.

"Communication needs to be improved in a serious way," said Holland, from Upper Marlboro, Md. "We need to keep students engaged."

A key part of the Simmons-Holland communication initiative will be the development of a UGBC newsletter that will be produced in paper and electronic format and distributed to undergraduates as well as faculty and administrators.

"That will be an important way for us, and for the members of our cabinet, to directly discuss and promote what's going on," said Simmons.

The pair also plans to enact a number of town hall-style meetings at BC next year for undergraduates to air their thoughts on important university issues, such as faculty diversity.

Simmons and Holland also plan to expand the scope of the student government by bringing on board student leaders to deal with issues involving computer technology, athletic affairs, residential life and fine arts.

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