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Meet UGBC Candidates: JSquared!

It’s that time of year, Collegiettes™! UGBC elections are days away and you’ve probably been bombarded by tons of students vying for your vote in Mac, in the Quad, or even in your dorm building. Keep reading to learn more about campus celebs, James and José, aka JSquared, who are ready to bring change to BC if elected as President and Vice President of UGBC.


Name: James Kale II; José Altomari

Year: 2016; 2016

Hometown: Bronx, New York; Providence, Rhode Island

Major: Lynch School, Applied Psychology/ Human Development and Sociology Double Major & AADS (Africa and African Diaspora) minor; A&S, Sociology Major, AADS minor

On Campus

What activities are you involved in on Campus?

James: Chair of the Martin Luther King Jr. Annual Memorial Gathering advisory board, involved with AHANA outreach, Co-director of Political and Social Activism for Black Student Forum, and Bystander Intervention

José: Freshman League Captain, dancer on Fuego, works for Office of Student Involvement, Kairos Retreat leader

Favorite class so far?

James:  The Sociology of Education (Lindsay Carfagna)

José: Race, Class and Gender (Professor McGuffey) and Business Law (Thomas Wesner)

The Campaign

An important part of being a leader is supporting the voices of individual students on campus. Do you have any specific goals for getting students more invested in UGBC and on campus issues?

James: Absolutely, that’s why we came up with slogan “including U in UGBC.” That has a double entendre because it means, one, putting the student voice back in UGBC, and also that the undergraduate government of Boston College is something all undergraduates are supposed to have a voice within.

José: Our entire platform is solely based off of what has been said by students. While we did come up with some of the ideas, a lot of ideas and other things we added were reinforced by the students.

What has been your experience with UGBC and why do you think your capacity to create change would be more effective in UGBC as opposed to other student organizations?

José: I for one haven’t been involved in UGBC but with my involvement with the office of student involvement, I’ve been there to see the transformation of the structure. The reason we want to be a part of it is because they design the policy club bill, they design the refund policy and they are at the forefront and serve as a liaison between what can change. In order for us to be a part of that change, we feel that we need to be a part of it.

James: I’ve actually applied to be a part of UGBC every year since my freshman year but I’ve been constantly denied. Because I’m passionate about certain topics they thought that I was overstepping my boundaries and their boundaries but the things I’m fighting for are things that people won’t address on BC’s campus. This campaign season José and I are the only ones who are not in UGBC and therefore we do bring in a new perspective. Because we have been so heavily integrated in the student body through clubs and activities on campus, we know what students demand, want, and expect from their student government.

What are your greatest strengths as a team and what do you think you could improve on?

José: I think the fact that we’re actually friends, we’re not just doing this for a political move. We know how the other works. We know that we can be a fortifying team and take on any obstacles that head towards us.

James: We know each other personally, academically, and intellectually. We already have a history but we’re also willing to work together. He makes sure that I relax sometimes and I make sure that he’s levelheaded and that he’s always on the right track so we complement each other. Another thing I would say is that we are both personable and that comes through our passions.    

James: I would say that we need to work on having more fun with the campaign. I think we’ve been more serious and stressed out with the campaign and this is our first time endeavor and our only time endeavor that we get to do something like this so we should also have fun.

If you could ask ay any BC faculty member or administrator, dead or alive, for advice who would you pick and why?

José: Father Monan. From what I’ve been told from Jesuits and students who have known him he took BC out of debt and essentially put us at the elite level that we are said to be at now. Yes, in a business sense he did it but at the same time he did it because the students had to be proud of something. I would want to take to him about all of the change he did because that’s what we’re trying to do, we want to promote change.

James: He definitely changed BC. In the Boston community, he changed BC’s legacy forever more. He opened BC’s doors to so many other students and he changed the way BC was to be for us today. So the advice I would ask him is, “What made you do that and how did you do so? How did you work with the students?”

Fun facts

What is your biggest pet peeve? (I had them answer for each other to test how well they know each other)

José: James hates feet on his pillow. He also really hates when people aren’t being straightforward with him.

James: José doesn’t like when people are being guarded or defensive. He tries to get people to be relaxed, comfortable and open. I think that’s his biggest pet peeve.

If you could be any kitchen appliance, what would it be?

José: Something useful that everyone wants…

James: I’d say a blender because it’s clear, transparent, it’s loud when it needs to be, and it adjusts to the environment.

José: I was just going to say a Nutribullet because when people buy a Nutribullet they’re going under change. They’re trying to do something new and beneficial with their lives.

If you could pick a theme song, for your campaign what would it be?

José: “A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cook

James: I knew you were going to say that.

Pick two celebrities to be your parents.

James: For my mother I’m going to go with Phylicia Rashad because she’s an activist. For my father, I’ll go with Huey P. Newton, that’s the first person that came to mind.

José: I definitely want Will Smith for my dad and for my mom I think Kerry Washington. I want someone to show me the right path but spoil me just enough.

What advice would you give to freshman?

James: Be yourself. I know it’s tough to come to a new place with new people so you may sometimes do what you can to make friends. But I would say be yourself and advocate for yourself. Never lose your voice, never lose sight of yourself and vote for JSquared for UGBC.

José: Be willing to have a conversation with anyone whether that’s your professor or your neighbor.

James: We’d also add, be attentive, be reflective, and be loving.

So there you have it, everything you need to know about campus celebs James and José. Throughout the interview, they were incredibly sincere and thoughtful so make sure you chat with them the next time you see them in Mac, if you haven’t had a chance already. Elections are February 19th and 20th, following a debate on Wednesday February 18th. Check out votejamesjose.com to learn more about their extremely practical, student driven platform and how they plan to include U in UGBC!



Adisa Duke, A&S ‘15

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