On April 14, the Boston College Economics Association will meet with state legislators to present proposals for amendments to current Massachusetts state laws at the Massachusetts Statehouse in Boston. Prior to their date at the Statehouse, the members of the Economics Association will hold a rehearsal open to the BC community on Tuesday in Merkert 127.
The members of the club will be split into groups of four or five people, with each addressing a different issue.
“There will be reliance on statistics and t-figures because it’s supposed to be less based off of feelings and emotions and more based off of facts and logic,” Ian Wyllie, head of the Economics Association and MCAS ’18, said.
One such issue, Wyllie said, is underage drinking. Currently, underage drinking causes many injuries and deaths because people are scared to call for help when they need it. They hope to change the social incentives of underage drinking by making it legal for people to drink with their families on alcohol-selling premises.
“The idea is to work to reduce the social incentive of having it be swept under the rug because it is so prevalent on college campuses,” Wyllie said.
Rohit Bachani, a member of the Economics Association and CSOM ’19, is part of a group that has been researching opiate abuse in Massachusetts.
“It’s basically about spreading awareness about our program—about the possibilities for students on BC’s campus to work through us or on their own accord.”
—Ian Wyllie, MCAS ’18
The group decided that the most effective means of curbing the problem would be to monitor prescriptions better. It found that extended-relief naltrexone, which is a medication that can be administered once a month, is very effective to prevent drug addiction. Finally, it has some ideas for new inpatient rehabilitation programs.
“I thought it was cool to parse through the research on this because I know that the state itself has been trying to do a lot to reduce opiate abuse,” Bachani said. “And I thought it would be an honor to be able to show this to professors and legislators and kind of be able to give our own take on how we’re going to solve these issues as college students.”
The Economics Association, which Wyllie founded this past fall, meets each week to go over current issues and updates. Each group also meets individually once a week to go over its presentations.
Henry Menn, a member of the Association and CSOM ’19, joined, he said, because he thought it would be interesting to find easy ways to make changes to the laws.
“I thought the coolest thing about it was finding small things that are easy to change that nobody really thinks about,” Menn said. “I just found it to be a really intriguing idea.”
Wyllie was able to set up the event at the Statehouse, he said, after talking to Jim Cantwell, the Massachusetts state representative for the 4th Plymouth district and BC ’88, who he knows from previous work experience.
The event on campus on Tuesday will allow the groups to give their presentations to audience members. BC professors will provide commentary and students can ask questions to the presenters.
“The goal of this presentation is to get a good feel of how thorough our research efforts have been so far and get some feedback on what more can be done to make our message more concrete and how to make our solutions more attractive to legislatures,” Bachani said.
The Economics Association, Wyllie said, aims to show the BC community the work that they’ve been doing over the past few months. He also hopes that BC students will become more interested in Massachusetts public policy issues.
“It’s basically about spreading awareness about our program—about the possibilities for students on BC’s campus to work through us or on their own accord,” Wyllie said.
Featured Image Courtesy of Pat Greenhouse / The Boston Globe