Earlier this week, I had the opportunity of observing a productions meeting of The Heights board for a paper in my research methods class. What I discovered was that the faces behind the paper deserve to be recognized beyond a mention in a by-line.
I wasn’t personally acknowledged or approached by most of the members, and anyone who hasn’t seen The Heights board in action may view that as an affront. And yet, I can assure anyone who jumps to this conclusion that it was quite the opposite. It wasn’t so much a lack of acknowledgement as it was a genuine indifference toward an “outsider looking in.”
Of course, describing the board’s attitude as “indifferent” isn’t exactly the first word that should come to mind, but in this case, this so-termed indifference was not ill regard toward a stranger but a sincere disregard toward what I was doing there. Their attitude arises from their transparent intentions. I interviewed several prominent figures on the board. It became quickly apparent that these individuals widely differed in background and experience but were all drawn to The Heights by one common cause-the betterment of Boston College.
The point of this letter isn’t to take up word space by flattering an organization. I write this public letter because I wish my student government would feel the same way.
This is not to say that UGBC does not have senators, executives, and staffers who have done much for BC, but the recent vote to split programming from UGBC has stirred much discussion of how the split would affect UGBC and divided the legislature despite its near-unanimous vote. Proponents of the split say that it will only advance UGBC’s advocacy goal, but the question that lingers and that many are unwilling to address is the “how”?
This letter wasn’t inspired by my involvement as a UGBC senator, but by my hope as a BC student that my student government exists as an extension of my voice, my roommates’ voices, and every single one of my classmates’ voices. From a senator’s lens, I know that UGBC addresses significant campus issues, but during this transitional period, I hold my student government and its leaders to deliver its promise of advocacy more than ever. It must be the catalyst of meaningful dialogue and action, which inevitably transforms its brand from a group that botches fall concerts, to a group that botches the school’s efforts to increase tuition costs like it did in 1977. The student body should recognize UGBC as the premier forum for student advocacy on campus regardless of this recent structural change.
It’s easy to preen, pose, and puff up our feathers to divert attention away from the underlying fact that without any force behind our words, they can only come back to haunt us. Moving forward, UGBC shouldn’t be so eager to vocalize what it hopes to do but should already be advancing its advocacy mission. In doing so, we will find ourselves as indifferent to scrutiny as The Heights because only then will we have nothing to hide.