Meeting People Where They’re At: An Interview with Presidential Candidate, Conor LoPiccolo
As I’m finishing up my previous interview, presidential candidate, Conor LoPiccolo, walks into the Pius lobby in a navy-blue suit coat and tie. He sits down with me, the same, familiar aura of nights worth of studying and day-old coffee filling the air. It’s finally gotten dark outside and the warm, dim lights of the library highlight the space.
Conor reveals to me his history with yearbook in high school, warming my heart as I reflect on my own experiences with my yearbook. Conor introduces himself as a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, majoring in English and Theology. While he entered his freshman year unhappy with his decision, he quickly became more and more acquainted with the love and energy of SLU during Welcome Week. Conor warmly recounts opening his car door on move-in day to his cousin dressed in the typical, ridiculous, Oriflamme get-up, bright orange t-shirt and knee-high socks.
He begins explaining his journey at SLU to where he is today: “It’s the extracurriculars I’m involved in, the classes that I take, the people that I meet, my study abroad experience, my fraternity.” But Conor comes to the realization that the greatest impact SLU had on him lies in his acquired ability to accept people for who they are and to love people where they’re at instead of who he wishes they were.
He attributes his success in SGA and relational competence with students in many capacities to this learned acceptance and love. As we’re interrupted by an announcement warning of the closing of the library, he jokes, saying they’re “throwing shade” at UNews. Returning back to our discussion, he expresses his ultimate desire for SLU. Conor wants a better relationship for students with each other, with faculty, with administration; to establish a better sense of trust and understanding. He grievously tries to condense his multi-faceted plan to achieve this goal into a few sentences for me to record. His first wish to improve student relationships is the development of a course or lecture series devoted to dialogue. Conor believes that the greatest challenge facing SLU students today is “how to kindly and lovingly disagree” and that the university setting is a place where this needs to happen.
Additionally, he describes a desire to make more opportunities for student jobs working with administrators. Through this, Conor sees administration gaining a better understanding of who they work for and students becoming more aware of those whose decisions deeply impact them. He earnestly recognizes that SGA has a powerful voice at Saint Louis that is unparalleled by many other universities. Because of this, he hopes all students can comprehend the importance of electing a candidate they believe is best for the school. As an individual, he humbly expresses his ability to meet students where they are, listen and work with them. Conor also mentions to me his impressive planning skills that can make a tangible difference in the SLU community.
He reveals, “I’m tired of people, students and administrators, giving empty promises to SLU students. And if I’m president I can honestly promise real, visible changes on our campus.”