Momentum Award: Tim Koch

Tim Koch, A&S ’14, knows the meaning of being a man for others. He has spent his now three years at Boston College helping to shape the BC community and the student experience through both his work as an Orientation Leader (OL) and his involvement in UGBC.

Before coming to BC, Koch didn’t know how his four years here would be spent. In fact, he wasn’t even sure that he had made the right choice.

“When I visited BC as a prospective student, I liked it, but I didn’t have that ‘I love it’ feeling,” Koch said. “For me, that didn’t come until orientation where I witnessed how hospitable and how embracing the community was. I remember being so apprehensive and nervous on my ride up here for orientation, but then leaving [and having] any doubts I had had dispelled.”

It is this warm quality of the community that has defined Koch’s BC career thus far. After applying to the Mentoring Leadership Program (MLP) on a whim, a decision that proved fundamental to his BC experience, Koch got his first taste of what it meant to be a BC student.

“[MLP] was the main outlet for me as a freshman. It was through the upperclassmen that assumed the responsibility to illustrate to me what it meant to be a man for others that ignited my other involvements, such as being an Orientation Leader,” he said. “As an upperclassman now, it’s this sense of assumed responsibility and the need to care and support and empower the underclassmen that I find myself taking on, so that they can accomplish bigger things than I can say that I accomplished.”

During his freshman year, MLP placed him in the Campus Entertainment division, and from then on, planning and programming was Koch’s way of helping to shape the student experience.

“[That placement] is essentially where my passion for planning and executing student-friendly social events that fostered a sense of the Boston College community, that were inclusive, that really allowed students to rally behind being a BC student, began,” he said.

As a sophomore, Koch was the director of Special Events, responsible for planning Homecoming, the Christmas Tree Lighting, and BC Boardwalk. The Homecoming dance, specifically, was an opportunity to make a positive change on campus, Koch explained.

First, he wanted to increase ticket availability, so he helped boost the event’s capacity by 300 students. Second, he wanted to make the event more inclusive by changing the image that Homecoming was not for everyone, that the similar ALC Ball was the Homecoming for AHANA students.

“That’s an image that I personally wanted to challenge,” he said. “I remembered the president of UGBC my freshman year, Michaela Mabida, [BC ’11] always telling me to be attuned to the larger conversations taking place on campus, and for me that was one of them. For me, it was what measures was I, as one of the people planning this event, going to take to try to make this a more inclusive and welcoming event? So, I worked with ALC Programming, which at the time was separate from Campus Entertainment, to educate students [about programming initiatives].”

This year, as deputy director of BC to Boston, Koch helped to plan 46 landmark events for BC students, approximately 90 percent of which were sold out. These events ranged from discounted tickets to an Ellie Goulding concert at The House of Blues that sold out in two minutes, to a Harpoon Brewery tour and tasting, which was the first-ever 21-plus off-campus, BC to Boston-sponsored event.

“[The Harpoon Brewery event] was unprecedented,” he said. “Everyone had a great time, and it was our department’s way of trying to combat [the stigma attached to] the drinking culture at BC. We were showing that BC students were responsible [about their drinking].”

Koch, along with Sarah Slater, director of BC to Boston and A&S ’13, made sure to complement ticketed events with free events so that all students would have the ability to participate, a balance that Koch says they intended to create.

With Koch’s help, BC to Boston has reached a new level of programming success. It now serves the crucial purpose of breaking students out of the “BC Bubble,” helping them to take full advantage of the city before they graduate.

“Tim really helped shape BC to Boston into what it is today,” said Mike Cavoto, UGBC director of Campus Entertainment and A&S ’13, in an email. “It’s a direct reflection of his ambition and desire to make a positive contribution to this University. He and Sarah Slater complemented each other perfectly this year and they really accomplished a lot.”

Koch, who ran for UGBC President for the 2014 academic year, translated this planning experience as well as his desire to have a hand in student formation into his presidential platform. Running with a fellow OL, Chris “Trugs” Truglio, CSOM ’14, Koch says that he designed a platform that he felt would provide all students with the formational mentorship experiences that have been integral and beneficial to his own BC experience, one that really emphasized the BC catchphrase of “For Here All Are One.” The platform included some mandatory moments for freshmen to be exposed to the expectations of the BC community as well as provided opportunities to discuss large issues on campus and promote unity.

“We spent an entire summer talking to bright-eyed [incoming] students whose energy was infectious,” Koch said. “We wanted to make sure that their stories were heard, that they had what they needed, that they had a conversation partner upon getting to BC. We wanted to encourage and facilitate these [deep] conversations with the freshmen class. To have people at BC that care about each other, to foster a community that is respectful.”

Koch’s dedication to cultivating this kind of community through both his planning responsibilities and his mentorship roles is a facet of Koch’s character that Cavoto says reflects what a BC student should be.

“Tim represents the typical BC student because he is dedicated to service,” he said in an email. “He tries his best everyday to make sure his events serve his fellow classmates in the most effective way possible and never seeks thanks or any personal accolades.”

In his last year at BC, Koch is hoping to continue to give other BC students the mentoring relationship he was fortunate enough to have by continuing to have involvement in the Office of First Year Experience and being a TA for a section of Courage to Know.

For Koch, this ability to be attentive to the needs of individuals, as well as the BC community as a whole, has made his time at BC what it has been.
“Having had the opportunity to have these conversations [about myself with my peers and mentors] has made me realize how important it is to give yourself in your four years here rather than focus on what’s going to get you the best resume to get a job when you leave here,” he said. “I want people to feel compelled to take on this responsibility, to look out for others, even if it’s one person on this campus who is younger than them, to really make a concerted effort to be present and attentive to them because that has made all the difference for me while I’ve been here.”