Lucas Levine and Vance Vergara, both A&S ’15, first met in August of 2011, about a week before they started as freshmen at Boston College, over chicken and waffles. The two were recent graduates of rival high schools in the Bay Area of California, and had mutual friends who organized for the two future Eagles to meet before starting school.
“It was nice,” Vergara recalled of the lunch. “We parted ways, and thought that might be it for a little while.”
When they arrived in Chestnut Hill just days later, however, they found the doors to their freshman dorm rooms to be directly next to one another. The two became neighbors, and then best friends. Two and a half years later, they became running mates for UGBC president and executive vice president.
The thought of entering the race did not cross either of their minds until the Elections Committee emailed the student body notifying them that the deadline for entering the election had been extended. Levine, who spent the fall semester studying abroad in Argentina, had returned to campus in January eager to get more involved.
“I saw the UGBC email, and it just instantly clicked,” Levine said.
An hour later, he saw Vergara in the library and pitched the idea to him. After several conversations in which each tried to gauge how serious the other was, the two decided to really investigate the possibility of running for president and executive vice president. They met with friends who had been involved with UGBC and current members of the UGBC administration, who gave them a better idea of what the job and the campaign season entailed. Three days, several conversations, and a few brainstorming sessions later, the two shook hands after a breakfast in Hillside, officially running mates.
The powder blue quarter-sheets now decorating several dorm room doors display the slogan that Levine and Vergara thought best described their campaign: “Bringing UGBC Down to Earth.” Without any UGBC experience between the two of them, they have been pegged as the “outsider team,” a label they believe can be used to their advantage.
“We just came in with a totally open mind and a totally fresh perspective,” Levine said. “I can see how, if you’ve been sitting in Student Assembly meetings for the last year, when you’re thinking of a platform, all you think about is constitutional reform like ‘What is the title of the person who’s in charge of communication or outreach or whatever. ‘ I could see how that could happen. We wanted to come from a standpoint of being students, average BC students, people who could relate to the student body.”
Many of their platform points are things that Levine and Vergara believe, though they may seem trivial, will have a large impact on student life based on the amount of people they will affect-more staplers on campus, more printing stations, better coffee in the dining halls. They hope that by accomplishing small things that impact nearly every student’s life, they will be able to reintroduce UGBC into students’ minds as an effective vehicle for accomplishing tasks that serve the interests of the student body. Their “First 100 Days” plan seeks to do just this so that they can establish the trust needed from students in order to tackle the larger issues on their platform.
The ideas for many of these larger points came from the multiple meetings Levine and Vergara had with leaders of student organizations in which they asked what these students would like to see changed on campus, and how they could best address those issues.
“Lucas and I can’t make a platform for every type of student here,” Vergara said. “The people involved with those issues need to be making the platform. Our job is to carry out that platform.”
From these meetings, Levine and Vergara created platform points such as the ones advocating for more AHANA and GLBTQ education at orientation, establishing a task force to combat female self-esteem issues, and promoting mental health awareness. By going to those who know the most about these issues, they hoped to create platform points that are not only desirable but achievable.
Levine and Vergara’s slogan “Bring UGBC Back to Earth” speaks to another of their main concerns: increasing the accountability and transparency of an organization with which many have become disenchanted. They believe that their close friendship will help them accomplish one of their man goals, which is to bridge the gap between the legislative and executive branches, resulting in a government united in purpose. They also hope to update the website with senators’ names and contact information, as well as establish goals and deadlines for bills and task forces so that students can hold their representatives accountable.
“UGBC is facing an existential question right now,” Levine said. “The foundation has been laid over the last couple years in terms of the institutional foundation, the constitutional reform, the split with programming. We now have an idea of where UGBC wants to go in the future. And the leaders can choose to either engage what is one of the most passionate and caring student bodies in the United States, or they can go it alone. And the students are not going to get involved unless they truly believe that UGBC can be a vehicle for these changes that will improve their lives the lives of all 9,000 students on campus. You can say that “constitutional reform” is big because it has a nice long name, but in the end, if you’re not going to do anything with these new institutions that you’ve built, all you’re doing is wasting the 100 people’s time who are sitting in the Student Assembly and forgetting about why you got involved in the first place, which is to represent this incredible community.”