Boston College has recently announced a series of commendable investments and innovations.
The University received a donation of $50 million as a part of its “Light the World” campaign from Margot C. Connell and her family to build the replacement for the Flynn Recreation Complex, which is scheduled to open in 2019. BC Athletics has also announced the construction of baseball and softball fields on Brighton and an indoor practice facility.
The new Plex, which will include four wood-floor basketball courts, three indoor tennis courts, multipurpose rooms for various fitness classes, a jogging track, and a state-of-the-art fitness center, is a much needed improvement to campus. The current Plex, which was built in 1972, is noticeably outdated. The new Plex will allow for the expansion of recreational activities at BC and will create further opportunities for students to improve their health and fitness.
These new facilities will also serve as a likely draw for admissions and athletic recruiting at BC. Student recreation is sometimes an important consideration for students in deciding where to attend college, and the construction of the new plex will likely raise the University’s appeal among potential Eagles. The same can be said for potential student athletes, who will likely be more inclined to continue their careers at a university with improved athletic resources.
BC also plans to build an Institute for Integrated Sciences and Society (IISS), one of the largest investments in the University’s history. This new and revolutionary concept will involve the construction of a building designed to promote collaboration between the sciences, social sciences, humanities, and business programs at BC to tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems. The specific areas the institute hopes to focus on are energy, environment, and health.
The IISS will help BC to put its many resources and faculty and student expertise to good use in developing solutions to problems such as terrorism, mass migration, threats to cybersecurity, and pandemics. Complex issues such as these require cross-discipline approaches to develop comprehensive solutions, and therefore the mission of the IISS will help the University to continue to have a growing impact on society.
Furthermore, the founding of the IISS will most likely bring with it multiple new academic programs. Although the institute will operate independently of BC’s four main schools, it may result in the creation of a data science major or minor, as well as the elevation of the current medical humanities minor to a major. BC’s global public health program will also likely grow to offer a minor and then a major. In the long term, the institute may represent a means for BC to establish an engineering program, an academic offering at many other major universities that the University currently lacks.
After going through a rocky patch in the early 2000s, BC Information and Technology Services (ITS) has been working to innovate itself and consistently improve. Evident in the construction of the Computer Center on Brighton Campus, the implementation of the eduroam wi-fi system, and the addition of resources such as Google Apps, ITS has been working hard to stay ahead of the curve of technology. The ongoing development of a BC-specific course registration program is an exciting and necessary project that will help improve and modernize the University in the near future.