Skehan and Condon Emphasize Connection with Students in Student Body President and Vice President Campaign


MJ Condon (left), Vice President candidate and Joseph Skehan (right) Presidential candidate.

Isabel Dreher, News Editor

Despite joining the UNH Student Body President (SBP) and Vice President (SBVP) race late, Joseph Skehan and MJ Condon still feel they’ve made tangible constituents to students and hope they’ve shown through their outreach that they’re the best candidates for the job.

“If you don’t know what’s going on in student senate, we’re your candidates,” said Condon. 

The main platforms of their campaign are diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI); transparency; engagement and students’ needs.

According to Condon, the last SBP and SBVP elections only resulted in about 1000 votes, which she says is about 9% of the eligible student voter population. Both Condon and Skehan felt that students remaining oblivious to student governments creates room for student leaders to not follow through on their promises.

“First and foremost, we want to increase attention to this election,” she said. “Students still don’t know what’s going on, which is not their fault, but we want to emphasize engagement on a one-on-one, individual level. Both Joseph and I, what we’re best at is working with students.”

Skehan also emphasized the lack of student involvement and awareness in school politics with an anecdote about visiting different student organizations’ meetings around campus. He said he asked a group of roughly 40 students which of them knew who the current SBP and SBVP were, and that two students knew. He then followed up by asking who thought that was a problem, to which every had in the room was raised.

Skehan believes one thing that sets him and Condon apart as candidates is their ability and willingness to listen to students and accept that no one knows everything, but Skehan and Condon say they’re ready to learn.

“We know we don’t have all the answers to the problems, but I know that MJ and I are really effective leaders and we really care,” Skehan said. “That’s something that will really empower us to make change on this campus because we’re willing to listen.”

On the platform of DEI, Skehan and Condon plan to hold monthly town halls on different subjects and issues under the umbrella of DEI as a way for students to make their voices heard on tough-to-discuss subjects.

“Our biggest pillar within DEI is it’s not about us, and because of that we want to bring members of the underrepresented populations into the discussion,” Condon said.

DURHAM- Condon (left) and Skehan (right) stand at the podium for the 2023 student body president debate. (3/23/23) (Ryan Malloy )

Both Skehan and Condon have backgrounds in leadership and have been very involved in the UNH community for as long as they’ve been on campus. Additionally, between the two of them they have roots in three of UNH’s colleges. Skehan, an analytical economics and philosophy major, has connections in Paul and COLA, while Condon, an analytical economics and statistics major, is rooted in Paul and CEPS. 

Skehan has been a division leader in business classes since the spring semester of his first year at UNH. He’s also a member of the Sustainability Day Group, which is working to transform UNH’s Unity Day into Unity Week, and he’s also done consulting with the B Impact Clinic at UNH. 

Condon has experience as an orientation leader and tour guide, and is a first-year Innovation and Research Experience (FIRE) peer advisor. She’s also the founder and president of UNH’s economics club. Additionally, Condon has participated and been a member of the operations team for Lead UNH, an annual multi-day experience for students that coaches them in how to take a positive approach to leadership and create meaningful social change. Condon believes that that experience uniquely prepared her to be UNH’s SBVP. 

“I got to see firsthand the power of vulnerability and engaging with students and showing them that it’s okay not to be perfect,” she said. “Lead UNH emphasize(s) leadership founded in inclusivity and equity, and treating others fairly as everyone deserves. So my training in leadership is all based on trying to be a voice for others.”

Skehan and Condon don’t have direct experience working with student senate, which they will begin to do if they’re elected. However, they believe that coming into student senate with an outside perspective will allow them to better communicate the needs of the student body.

“It is seen as a hindrance on our campaign, when in reality, to us, it’s our biggest asset,” Condon said. 

“The student body needs people who will represent the perspective of the students, and we understand what the disconnect is,” said Skehan. “It’s hard to see the disconnect if you live in the system.”

Skehan and Condon are committed to staying connected with students and bringing any and all concerns to the student senate if they’re elected.

“There’s no question that’s a dumb question, there’s no stance that’s a dumb stance. If students don’t know something, MJ and I will find the answer,” Skehan said. “It may not be an answer that’s liked by the student body, we may have to make change(s), but regardless, MJ and I are not going to decide what is expedient for us to work on. Every issue is the same. MJ and I believe that the only way UNH is going to function is if Senate opens up, because there’s no point in only working on legislation that student senators care about.”

Voting for the SBP andSBVP election will take place online and will be open from Tuesday, March 28 until Friday, March 31. Voting will open after midnight on Tuesday. Students can find the link to vote and more election information here. More information about Skehan and Condon’s campaign can be found on their Instagram.