The Student Assembly (SA) of the Undergraduate Government of Boston College unanimously passed a resolution to establish a Puerto Rico Relief Committee within the Student Assembly.
The resolution, sponsored by Aneeb Sheikh and Ignacio Fletcher, both MCAS ’20, was presented last week and calls for the establishment of a committee whose goal is to raise money for Puerto Rico, which was devastated last month by Hurricane Maria.
“Many groups on campus are trying to raise money for Hurricane Maria relief,” Sheikh said. “But, the problem is there is no Puerto Rican student association which means there is no central Puerto Rican identity for students to collaborate with and combine their fundraising methods.”
He went on to say that, though there may be some collaboration going on with other organizations on campus, it is not organized into a combined effort. This, Sheikh says, makes these efforts ineffective. Sheikh and Ignacio Fletcher, MCAS ’20, believe the Puerto Rico Relief Committee would be a central entity that combines the efforts of any student or alumni interested in giving to the cause.
Regarding the use of other organizations for funding, Unidos Por Puerto Rico was chosen over other options, like the American Red Cross. Unidos Por Puerto is a fundraising effort set up specifically for hurricane relief with over 20 major corporate partners.
“Unidos Por Puerto Rico allows you to donate however much you want,” Fletcher said, “This is legit and this money is going where you want it to go.”
Fletcher pointed to a previous Heights article to remind the SA that their fellow Puerto Rican peers at BC feel unsupported in their cause and recognize more can be done by the community.
“Students need to know that we are still American citizens and that we need to create awareness,” Fletcher said. “If you are doing this alone, you might be able to gain some money, but you’re not going to be able to get the full support of every resource we have at BC.”
After the resolution passed, Fletcher was elected chairman of the new committee.
This resolution stands as a more general platform for the cause by bringing together the efforts to raise more awareness and gain as much money as possible. For this reason, they divided the proposal into three different sections.
The three sections include: Alumni Donation Activities (ADA), Undergraduate Fundraising Activities (UFA), and Creating Awareness Promotion (CAP). These sections also include a Finance Group (FG) which will consist of four students who will oversee the fundraising efforts.
The goal is to get all of the organizations on campus on the same page. There are many organizations on campus, like Montserrat, which are eager to learn more about this campaign and get involved, Fletcher claimed.
Sheikh said when this committee has ideas for fundraising, they will be carried out. At the first meeting of every month, the Finance Group will get an audit about how much money was raised to keep track of the funds.
Caroline Monnes, MCAS ’19, expressed concern for the ADA portion of the resolution, which she motioned to amend. This part of the resolution would have required the committee to find donations from resources like the Career Center and the Cadigan Alumni Center, according to Sheikh and Fletcher. However, multiple members of the SA who work for the two centers cautioned that getting access to alumni contact information would be nearly impossible.
Sheikh and Fletcher were in support of the amendment after deliberation. Soon after, that part of the resolution was taken out of the document officially after a unanimous vote. Tt King, UGBC executive vice president and MCAS ’18, affirmed that the committee can still reach out to alumni though it is not explicitly in the amended resolution.
In the final vote on the amended resolution for a Puerto Rico Relief Committee, it was unanimously passed.
“This is what BC embodies. Jesuit values, Jesuit ideals, and what you should be doing as good human beings and people for others,” Sheikh said. “This is going to be our contribution for helping people in Puerto Rico.”
Correction: A previous version of the article said Aneed Sheikh, MCAS ’20, sponsored the resolution. It was sponsored by Sheikh and Ignacio Fletcher, MCAS ’20.
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