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New UGBC Team Ready For Work

04/25/13
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By Melissa Beecher | Chronicle Staff

Published: Apr. 25, 2013

Juniors Matthew Nacier and Matthew Alonsozana were recently elected Undergraduate Government of Boston College president and vice president, respectively, the “Matt and Matt” ticket garnering 58 percent of the student vote earlier this month. Chronicle staff writer Melissa Beecher recently sat down with the team to talk about plans for the upcoming year.

Did you have political ambitions before coming to BC? Why did you get involved with UGBC?

Matt N.: I’ve always been attracted to business and industrial design — politics never crossed my mind as something I would be well suited for. But I’ll admit during the campaign this question came up a lot and maybe the political bug might have bitten me. We’ll see.

I got involved in UGBC because I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to give to the community and do everything in my power to be a positive addition my environment. Matt and I both love BC. As a matter of fact, every candidate that ran loves BC; our visions were just different. Our goal has always been to better the BC experience and in that process help our school become the premier Catholic university in the world. 

Matt A.: Prior to coming to BC, I had envisioned myself serving the community by becoming a top expert and advocate on matters of health care law and policy, but I had wanted to do so in the context of medicine.

As I became more involved in policy and political activities during my BC career, my focus began to shift to the legal and political field until I found this year that what got me out of bed in the morning was having the ability to advocate for various members of the community, through the Asian Caucus and UGBC. I ended up spending this entire year on campaigns: in the fall with the Romney and Brown campaigns and in the spring with my own. Now, I envision myself moving more towards being an effective legislator. (Perhaps the first Asian-American senator from Maryland?)

I got involved with UGBC because I truly believe that it is the organization best placed to serve the undergraduate community and act as a catalyst for change. I had mentors who encouraged my involvement, and luckily, by the skin of my teeth, I won a senate seat last year. In senate, I founded and now chair the UGBC Policy Caucus that acts as a coordinating forum, think tank, and resource for policy advocates in the BC community for many different issues, from health to sustainability. I also joined UGBC because I wanted to encourage the Asian and Asian-American community to step out of its comfort zone and become more involved with larger on-campus organizations. 

Who came up with the campaign slogan “Forward with U?” and why do you think it resonated with students?

Matt A: Coming up with the slogan was a team effort. The original slogan “Standing with You, Moving Forward” was somewhat cumbersome, but after honest advice, we found a simple slogan that people could remember and fit well with our innovative aspirations. 

You have an extensive platform that the student body obviously appreciated. What are the top three issues you will tackle as president/vice president?

Matt N.: Our platform began with introduction of the three Cs: Community, Clarity, & Creativity.  Our biggest goal is to implement that into the way UGBC is run next year.  With the new structure, community is more important than ever so that all groups in UGBC feel included. This sense of community would reach to other offices and organizations so that we can work to help each other overcome campus-wide issues. 

With a community this large there has to be a sense of clarity. We need to be clear in our direction and vision and we need to be able to communicate better not only with the new organization but also with students and faculty.  This clarity would make UGBC a bridge between the concerns of faculty and students where we can find ways to jointly solve problems. 

Lastly, we need to be creative.  Matt and I wish to work towards a more proactive UGBC that works harder in advocating students’ needs and finding ways to include students’ input.  Too often we find ourselves repeating things year after year in UGBC when we should be asking “How can we make this better? Does it better the BC experience? How can we better appropriate our resources?”

What advice would you give to an incoming student who may have an interest in UGBC? 

Matt N.: I would tell them to apply and learn as much as you can about the BC community.  More importantly, I would assure them if you have enough passion and drive, you don’t need to be in UGBC to make a change.

Matt A.: Get involved with something early, and reach out to us. Matt and I got involved by having great mentors to show us the way, and we want to learn with you and pass on this legacy that we have inherited since we arrived at BC.

Your YouTube campaign videos were very entertaining. How much of a role does social media play in today’s UGBC campaigns?

Matt N.: Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed them. We couldn’t have done it with out the help of Joseph Baron and James Pettigrew.  I most certainly will say that social media plays a huge part during campaigns.  A strong social media presence can get you more exposure. Although social media is nice, nothing can compare to speaking face to face in the residence halls.  Matt and I absolutely loved knocking on doors and getting to meet and hear so many different stories from our BC peers.  Without any interaction with one another, campaign season would be so boring if you took away chances to meet with students and share your vision.