The AHANA+ Leadership Council (ALC) of the Undergraduate Government of Boston College (UGBC) is proposing to expand the Multicultural Learning Experience (MLE) floors to Newton, which ALC hopes will facilitate discussions on important issues between Newton and Main Campus.
A final proposal is currently in the works, according Jefferson Agyapong, a leader of the initiative and MCAS ’20. ALC is continuously drafting the document to reflect the voices of all advocates for the expansion. Based on the feedback in response to expanding MLE, there is a strong desire to enhance the program.
ALC is seeking to achieve approval of the program from ResLife to materialize its vision of offering MLE on both residential campuses.
MLE offers a possible solution to the concern that living on Newton campus does not allow students to fully integrate into the social and academic opportunities BC has to offer, which are fostered primarily on Main Campus.
“It is like you are isolated from a community and within one, as well,” said Ibrahima Mbaye, a member of ALC, former resident of Newton campus, and CSOM ’20, regarding the lack of outreach of organizations on Newton. “Having more living and learning communities on Newton will help destigmatize the campus as a place where it is not very enjoyable to live.”
ALC conducted a survey, which collected over 160 responses of BC freshmen, showing that the commute to Main Campus is often seen as a barrier to becoming more involved in the community, inhibiting students from having a fully immersive BC experience.
“It is hard to be men and women for others when you do not see the other people you are supposed to be around,” Agyapong said.
The survey not only addressed issues of expanding MLE, but also gave students the opportunity to suggests improvement to the floors and ALC. Suggestions included placing more emphasis on the learning aspect of MLE, introducing a scholar lecture series, and requiring MLE students to take diversity-related courses.
Agyapong said the MLE floor provides students with the opportunity to open their minds to new experiences and narratives other than their own.
The MLE floors are one of several living and learning communities on campus. According to ResLife, the hallmarks of these communities are collaboration, connection, and community — they are focused on creating a living experience that intentionally facilitates interaction between students, faculty, and staff throughout the University.
Mbaye said MLE serves the purpose of being a community grounded in its commitment to diversity, which is notable in the context of the racist incidents on campus last October. It is open to first year students only and is situated in Xavier Hall on Upper Campus. There are currently two floors designated to the community, one for males and one for females.
“There’s a general desire for more intimate conversations or connections,” Mbaye said. “These kinds of spaces are very important for fostering those kinds of communication.”
Featured Image by Celine Lim / Heights Staff
This article has been updated.