The Final Debate

Miriam Correia

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The last debate of the USGA Elections was Tuesday, March 24 in the Bartels Programming Space.  USGA Presidential Candidates Kayla Wallace, Colin Weber and James Kielar were all present and Treasurer Candidate, Annalisa Berardinelli was out of town, so she was video-conferenced in.  Current USGA President Richard Rotella hosted the debate.  There was ice cream for the attendees and the friendliness between the candidates gave the event a very fun, low-key vibe.

It was a friendly debate; all of the candidates gave each other time to talk and there were no rebuttals.  It was more of a “get to know the candidates,” event than a debate.  President Rotella started the event by taking questions for the audience.

Some of the questions asked included: Given all campus involvement, where would the USGA Position fall on list of priorities? What do you think is the best part of UNH? The worst? What will you look for in other E-Board members to make a good team?  What do you believe are the best qualities in a leader? The worst? And what is one thing you would improve about UNH?

When asked about qualities in E-Board members, Kielar said he is looking for the ability to work well with others, passionate about UNH and USGA and good reputations, clarifying that it is not a popularity contest but he doesn’t want someone who has burnt bridges along their way at UNH.

Wallace was asked about having non-Greek life students on USGA and she is very open to it.  In fact, she looks forward to reaching out to non-Greek life students if she does win.  She wants USGA to be as diverse and well-rounded as the UNH population is.

All of the candidates gave very thoughtful answers; they all have a lot of pride in UNH and see potential where it seems to be lacking.  Big themes for the night were reaching out to veterans for more involvement and representation, having more non-Greek life students on USGA, finding out why people are transferring and doing something to change it and making sure students know what to do to channel their complaints and make sure they are heard.

When asked where USGA position would fall on list of involvement, Berardinelli said that it would take the top spot.  She stated that she would be willing to lessen involvement in other areas if need be to make sure she is doing a good job as USGA Treasurer.

After the audience asked questions, President Rotella asked a few of his own.  He asked questions along the lines of what direction the candidates would like to see USGA go in next year, how the presidential candidates would go about unifying the student body and USGA, and what the candidates’ favorite tradition is on campus and how they would go about creating new ones.  The candidates continued to give earnest, passionate answers to each question.

“To bring a more open environment for the students coming next year,” Weber said when asked about the direction of USGA if he is elected President.

Some of the responses for the best parts of UNH were the opportunities for experiential education, the professors, the diversity and the unique experiences that this campus has to offer.

It’s evident that all of the candidates are proud to be UNH students.  Although their answers were not exactly the same for every question, they are all passionate about what UNH has to offer and want to make sure every other student here knows about all the good things on campus.

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The Final Debate