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McDonald-Duran ticket aims to unite student body and improve mental health services

| Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Juniors Ashley McDonald and Jennifer Duran are one of two tickets for student body president and vice president at Holy Cross College, respectively. The pair focused their campaign on uniting the disparate parts of the Holy Cross community.

Liam Kelly | The Observer
Ashley McDonald (left) and Jennifer Duran spoke at Monday night’s election town hall. The ticket running for Holy Cross student body president and vice president wishes to connect disparate members of the College community if elected.

McDonald served as a commuter senator when she was a first-year and is now the chief of staff of the Student Government Association (SGA), while Duran currently serves as a commuter senator and is on the board of First Generation Club.

“One thing that I’ve noticed is that we have all these separate entities that we want to make more connected,” McDonald said during an election town hall on Monday.

McDonald and Duran said that they aim to run SGA in a way that can bring together commuter students, athletes, Gateway students and more.

Duran added that she hopes to bring her experience as a board member in First Generation Club to help in this effort.

“I’ve worked with disadvantaged students and students who don’t get as much attention,” she said.

Both McDonald and Duran have lived off campus during their time at Holy Cross, which they argue will help them serve that part of the community better than previous administrations.

“People talk about wanting to include commuter students, but there’s never been, to my knowledge, anyone reaching out to them and actually finding out what they want,” Duran said.

Reaching out to students for input is also central to the McDonald and Duran’s campaign, they said. In order for this communication to happen, McDonald argued, students need to know that they can speak to student government about their ideas.

“A lot of people don’t know what the SGA offices are for. They walk past this room to get some kind of office that they can’t go into.” McDonald said, “It’s actually there for students to be able to come in and talk to us and share their ideas and their concerns.”

One of the biggest concerns for McDonald and Duran is getting people to come to events. The pair noted that attendance at student government events has been low recently.

“This is the year of students that lived with COVID throughout high school, so they have a harder time being social and meeting people,” Duran said of the first-year class.

Duran stressed that she and McDonald “want to know what events are not appealing” and proposed creating different events that will cater to more students.

Another priority for the ticket is improving mental health services on campus. Holy Cross College currently only has one mental health counselor available for students.

“We have 400-500 students, for one counselor that’s stretching him thin,” McDonald argued. McDonald also emphasized the need for a female counselor in order for female students to feel more comfortable using mental health services.

Both McDonald and Duran emphasized that their administration would be a productive collaboration between each other.

“It’s not about the fact that Ashley’s higher than me, or I’m lower. We’re equal,” Duran said.

Voting for student body president and vice president will take place from 9 a.m. through 4 p.m. Thursday in the lounge by Ave Brew Cafe.

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