Category Archives: Featured Story

People Magazine to Honor Welles Crowther With Third Annual Award

People magazine announced that it would be honoring the heroism of Welles Remy Crowther, BC ’99, with the third annual Red Bandanna Hero Award.

In partnership with the American Heroes Channel (AHC) and the Welles Remy Crowther Charitable Trust, the award will be given to an individual who emulates the courage and bravery of Crowther, who is remembered for his selfless sacrifice during the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. He saved as many as 18 people before losing his own life during the collapse of the South Tower of the World Trade Center.

The award winner will receive a $10,000 donation to a charity of his or her choice and be featured in People. He or she will also be showcased in an hour-long AHC special airing in the fall.

In addition, the recipient will be given a trip for two to the Red Bandanna Football Game at Alumni Stadium this fall.

When Crowther was 6 years old, his father gave him a red bandanna that he carried with him everywhere. After graduating from BC, where he played lacrosse and studied economics, Crowther moved to New York City to work as an equities trader.

On 9/11, Crowther used his experience as a volunteer firefighter to help rescue survivors from the 78th floor lobby of the South Tower, returning inside the building multiple times after guiding groups of people out to the street. During his heroics, he wore the gift his father gave him around his mouth and nose to guard against smoke, allowing some of those that he saved to later identify him as “the man in the red bandanna.”

The previous winners of the first and second annual Red Bandanna Hero Award are firefighter Jake LaFerriere, who founded Firefighters for Healing, a non-profit that supports young burn survivors and their families, and veteran Christopher Baity, who founded Semper K9, a non-profit that matches wounded members of the armed services with service dogs.

Nominations for the award are being accepted through July 4 here.

Featured Image Courtesy of

Longtime BC Dining Manager Passes Away

Jim Devoe, a dining manager at McElroy Commons, passed away unexpectedly on Sunday at the age of 62. On Monday, a message board with his photo was set up in Mac with messages written from students and dining staff. A table with flowers and a Boston College Superfan hat was placed next to the message board.

“On Sunday, a longtime manager of BC Dining, Jim Devoe passed away unexpectedly,” a sign on the table reads. “Please keep him and his family in your thoughts & prayers. He will be greatly missed.”

Devoe worked as a manager for BC Dining for over 30 years. Many of his peers knew him as a talented guitar player and singer.

“Our team is still processing our loss today,” Director of BC Dining Elizabeth Emery said in an email on Monday. “We enjoyed his music at our Christmas party in January, and he played in front of the fireplace at Corcoran Commons a number of times for students.”

On Sunday morning, Devoe, who was set to begin his shift in Mac at 11, was performing his usual morning rituals in his backyard and was talking to his neighbor. His wife, who was upstairs at the time, began to hear her dogs barking loudly, so she ran downstairs. Devoe had collapsed on the floor, and the neighbor had already called 911. He died before the ambulances arrived. His wife called BC Dining shortly after to tell them the news.

Devoe was known to be a nice man by his peers—sometimes even too nice.

A month ago, a new student worker joined the dining staff who was not meeting expectations. He was a slow worker and was not communicating well with customers. One day, he showed up to work over an hour late while Devoe was the manager on duty. He could have easily sent the young man home and fired him, but he wanted to give him another chance.

The next shift, the worker came back with his shirt encrusted with food—he had apparently not washed it since the shift before. Instead of yelling at him, Devoe went to his office where he kept a couple extra clean shirts and gave it to the worker to change into. He had a conversation with the worker and let him know that he wanted to keep him, but he had to make some changes.

Now, the worker is doing well at the job, according to Michael Forcier, general manager at Mac. Because Devoe trusted in the worker and gave him an extra chance, the worker has shaped up.

“That was Jim,” Forcier said. “He was such a great guy. He has made an impact on people’s lives.”

Devoe’s son, Tom, graduated from BC in 2011. Tom was able to attend BC tuition-free because his father worked here. Devoe worked at BC for all of Tom’s life and always had season tickets to BC football and hockey games. He even handed his son his diploma at graduation.

“The same passion he had for BC he had for everything in life—for his family, for his friends, [and] for playing guitar,” Tom said.

Calling hours will be held on Friday from 3 to 7 p.m. with a service at the Tighe Hamilton Funeral Home at 6:30 p.m. in Hudson, Mass.

Featured Image by Chris Russo / Heights Staff

CommonWealth Kitchen Opens Pop-up at The Street

With the warm weather peeking through during the past few weeks, The Street at Chestnut Hill is often a go-to spot for locals to hang out, grab a bite to eat, and make new discoveries. And the newest discovery to be made is The Street’s most recent pop-up, CommonWealth Kitchen. Nestled behind Shake Shack, CommonWealth Kitchen has taken over the pop-up storefront in its first-ever retail venture.

Until May 31, the light-filled pop-up space will showcase some of Boston’s local culinary treasures, many of which are created by small, local businesses that lack a physical storefront. The wide shelves of the CommonWealth Kitchen pop-up will display local sauces, cookies, granola, and many more options that visitors can enjoy between its airy, pastel-colored walls. All of this innovation arises from CommonWealth Kitchen, a nonprofit organization that is one of the country’s biggest food business incubators.

Started in 2009 by founder Jen Faigel, CommonWealth Kitchen has undergone incredible growth over the past eight years. Originally based out of Jamaica Plain in a 2500-square-foot space with only two to three staff members, the facility relocated to Dorchester in 2012 to fill a 15,000-square-foot space with a staff that now includes 15 employees.

Faigel, who used to work in real estate, conceived the idea when she came across an empty warehouse. Hoping to put the space to use, Faigel considered the limits of her experience with affordable housing.  

“We were putting roofs over people’s heads, but we weren’t doing much to change their socioeconomic status,” Faigel said.

After observing other food incubator models that had tried and failed, Faigel decided to give it a shot as well.

Now, almost eight years later, CommonWealth Kitchen is home to over 50 food businesses including food trucks, caterers, and wholesalers. Dedicated to the mission of helping minority groups, 70 percent of the small businesses that CommonWealth Kitchen works with are owned by women and minority racial groups.

“What we are trying to do here is intentionally invest in groups that have been left out of the marketplace and provide the resources and chance that they need to enter it,” Faigel said.

The typical process of developing each business ranges from three to six months. Prior to even approaching CommonWealth Kitchen, the organization requires that each business have a license, permit, and insurance, and to display its full dedication and intent on following through with this venture. Once businesses are accepted, CommonWealth Kitchen employees emphasize their role as a helping hand, widely encouraging the business owners to develop their own problem-solving skills.

“We help them with anything like label design, to market place entry, or even with community reception. The main focus here though, is that it is all collaborative work,” said Pat Gray, senior advisor for strategy and development.

Businesses that are a part of CommonWealth Kitchen all operate on different schedules. Some cook in the Dorchester facility every day, while others may only appear once a week—all depending on the needs of its company. When not in the kitchen, many business owners are out- networking and talking to retailers and wholesalers, trying to further their footing in the marketplace. Due to the differing scale of each company, with some businesses operating in 80 stores while others are in 200, the businesses have varying levels of experience. This difference offers an unique opportunity for collaborative work between the businesses themselves, not just with CommonWealth Kitchen.

When looking ahead for the future, Faigel hopes to create a model for other communities seeking to set up food incubators and to further the collaborative work and integration of services that the CommonWealth Kitchen operates on. Gray explained that CommonWealth Kitchen has involved lots of “ trial and error,” which has ultimately bred a community of “problem solvers,” and an organization where those involved are “always looking to be better and can recognize everyone’s unique contribution”

Specifically, the organization is working on getting some of its shelf products into local universities within the next few months. It has already made some headway with Harvard and Northeastern.

“College students love local products these days,” Faigel said. “They would be the perfect consumer base that many of our businesses are trying to extend out to.”

All the items stocked are made in the Dorchester facility. But instead of each business individually selling its product through the storefront, they are bought by the organization, and then sold through the pop-up.

And so far, the shelves offer a variety of local options to explore. During the warm weeks to come the small-batch ice cream from Little G’s will certainly fly out of the shop, and honey-sweetened, homemade marshmallows from Apotheker’s Kitchen will satiate anyone’s sweet tooth.

In addition to the goods on the shelves, the store will have a rotating schedule of two food trucks cooking in-house, so fresh daily options will be available as well. The month of April will feature the food truck Jamaica Mi Hungry, while May will feature The Dining Car.

The pop-up will also feature special events during its stay in The Street, including an upcoming Cinco de Mayo celebration that will offer succulent pork tacos from The Dining Car.

And even though May hearkens the end of CommonWealth Kitchen’s stay on The Street, Fiagel and Gray look at the departure with resolute optimism.

“Hey who knows,” chuckled Fiagel. “Best-case scenario this could become a permanent space for us.”

Featured Image by Simran Brar / Heights Staff

Athletes Boost Potential With Humon

Why is it that people know more about their cars than their own bodies? Baffled by this notion, MIT graduates Alessandro Babini and Daniel Wiese founded Humon, a Boston-based tech startup that empowers athletes and civilians with the body information they need to be their better selves.

Babini, Humon’s co-founder, grew up in France and completed his undergraduate studies in the United Kingdom before moving to Boston. Babini graduated from MIT’s Sloan School of Management in 2015 where he met Wiese. The two founded Humon in 2015, while Babini finished business school and Wiese completed his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering.

The company’s name—Humon—comes from an amalgamation of the words “Human Monitor”, and points toward the company’s original direction. Instead of a wearable-tech or fitness startup, Babini and Wiese first bonded over the idea that technology and biology could intersect to help people understand more about their bodies.

“We had no idea where to start, but knew we wanted to create something that could monitor the way the body behaves,” Babini said.

Babini oversees the business side of the startup, and works to keep his team moving forward. Some of his duties include fundraising, marketing, and business development. Wiese handles the technological side, developing innovative software platforms and algorithms for Humon products. Together, the two have created a startup attracting attention and recognition from leaders in the fitness industry.

Boston was the ideal setting for Babini and Wiese to get their startup off the ground. The two leveraged the resources provided by their graduate studies at MIT, and utilized the powerful tech network present in the city. Babini explained that Boston is a great environment for biotech and hardware startups.

“The mentality we have is that we will go wherever to make our company successful,” Babini said. “Today, we think that Boston is where we can make the most progress.”

Last year, Humon began shipping a prototype device to users called the Humon Beta. The device, a small, black hexagonal sensor, was attached to a thin strap securing the device to the user’s leg. Babini and his team then listened to user feedback to build better features that would fit into users’ habits, and help them best train on a daily basis.

Babini explained that he did not just want to sit in a room with his team and decide what athletes needed. It was important to ship devices to customers and get their honest reactions. While the criticisms were harsh at times, Babini was always focused on perfecting the product.

With the prototype, Babini learned that athletes did not have regular access to the high level of information they needed to enhance their training. These athletes only had access to heart rate monitors, which report data that is essentially useless on its own. The data collected and the feedback received from the Humon Beta paved the way for the startup’s flagship device, the Humon Hex.

“We experimented with market research by talking to athletes to understand what their problems were and built a solution for them and with them,” Babini said.

The Humon Hex device measures the way muscles use oxygen. Much like the prototype, the device is comfortably strapped around the quad muscle, and has a battery life of 12 hours. Based on the way the quad muscle uses oxygen during the workout, the user receives a real time insight that allows them to optimize his or her training.

The Humon Hex advises users on how far they can push themselves without exceeding their limits during a workout. The device helps athletes warm up and recover, while giving reliable feedback through a phone or smartwatch. The sensors in the Human Hex seamlessly integrate with the software platform that provides feedback for continuous improvement.

The device gives users information that they can immediately incorporate into their routines. With this insight, Babini suggests that users can make decisions that enable them perform at their best, and be more happy and healthy.

For now, Humon’s main focus is on helping athletes learn faster and train better. This summer, the Humon Hex will begin shipping the device to athletes all around the country.  Babini hopes to help entire teams reach their full potential using the Humon Hex device in the coming months.

“The Humon Hex will give users access to unparalleled information that will help the body work at its best,” Babini said.

Featured Image Courtesy of Humon

Christina Hoff Sommers Wants to ‘Make Feminism Great Again’

Christina Hoff Sommers believes that the heart of feminism on college campuses is the dissemination of false information.

Sommers, a resident scholar of feminism at the American Enterprise Institute, spoke to a packed, mostly male audience Wednesday night in McGuinn 121. The event, a talk titled “What Has Gone Wrong With Feminism,” was hosted by the Boston College Republicans and Eagles for Israel.

Sommers began her talk by jokingly declaring the room a “safe space” and describing herself as a “white, Jewish, cisgender, neurotypical woman with a non-gender conforming dog.”

The bulk of Sommers’s discussion centered around her critiques of intersectional feminism, a brand of feminism that aims for inclusion of minority women, and the advent of microaggressions, or small-scale comments or jokes that are based in gender or racial inequality.

Sommers is an equity feminist, a brand of feminism rooted in enlightenment ideals that aims for the moral, legal, and social equality of the sexes. Equity feminism is credited with inspiring the first wave of feminism that led to women’s suffrage.

Sommers described equity feminism as “offering no prescriptions, but it promises you the freedom to forge your own destiny.”

In recent years, the tide of public favor has shifted from equity feminism toward intersectional feminism, something Sommers characterized as “safe space, check your privilege, shut-the-f-up feminism.”

Intersectional feminism, pioneered by Patricia Hill Collins at the University of Maryland, College Park, arose out of concerns that traditional feminism held the experience of white women to be emblematic of all women, something Sommers conceded was a legitimate concern.

Where Collins and Sommers differ is in the mode of rectifying these wrongs. Collins introduced intersectional feminism, while Sommers contends that equity feminism does not need to be overthrown but rather reformed.

Throughout the talk, Sommers expressed concern over the divisive nature of intersectional feminism, at times stating that it encourages paranoia and neurosis.

“There is a problem with defining what is a marginalized group,” Sommers explained. “It seems that everyone who is not a neurotypical white man has some grievance that fits into this axis of oppression.”

The axis Sommers mentions is the root of her concerns with intersectional feminism. Within intersectional feminism, America is depicted as a system of domination and privilege, thinly veiled by the idea of freedom.

Sommers disagrees with this fundamental idea, insisting that even members of the same minority group are not all like-minded, thus requiring more subdivisions.

“My problem with intersectionality is that it fights sexism, racism, classism by labeling everyone into gender, race, and class,” she said. “It reinforces what it is trying to eradicate.”  

Intersectional feminism centers on the importance of discussing shared life experience of minority groups. Sommers contends that this discussion often occurs at the expense of evaluative reason and factual statements.

“You have to evaluate different life experiences by how close they are to reality,” Sommers said. “[Intersectional feminism] is sort of a conspiracy theory because there is no way to prove it wrong. If you question it you just don’t understand the theory.”

Sommers explained similar concerns that the increase in reporting microaggressions stifles free speech on college campuses, which she likened to police states. Although Sommers did agree that bigotry can exist on small scales, she is troubled about the urgency of reporting these statements to university authorities.

“I don’t see them as protection,” Sommers said with regard to bias response groups on college campuses. “I see them as enabling spies and busybodies … they keep multiplying, like the number of oppressed groups.”

Rather than report offensive comments, Sommers advocates for forging friendships and the liberal tradition of equity feminism to fight bigotry. Tolerant, free speech, to Sommers, is a more effective solution than monitoring what others say.

Sommers also expressed her doubts concerning the accuracy of reports about sexual assaults on college campuses. In particular, she contended that the statistic of 1 in 4 women being assaulted during their time in college is somewhere closer to 1 in 50. She did not provide data to back up this claim.

Sommers stated that if common belief on this issue was true, “it would mean that our campuses are more dangerous than war-torn Congo.”

After touching on a variety of topics, Sommers returned to her theme of the importance of equity feminism and left the audience with a charge to make positive change.

“Fight for what is yours, the right to speak and express … take back reason, take back freedom, take back feminism, and—dare I say it—make feminism great again,” she said.

Featured Image by Amelie Trieu / Heights Editor

From the Black Box to the Blacktop, Emma Howe’s Craziest Semester

When Emma Howe, MCAS ’18 was a senior in high school, she promised her dad that she would run the Boston Marathon. Earlier that year, Scott Howe had been diagnosed with Stage Four oropharyngeal cancer. The advanced cancer of the throat and tongue required immediate and intense treatment. He underwent eight weeks of radiation and chemotherapy at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. This meant daily radiation, major surgeries, and constant care.

Howe experienced firsthand the work Dana-Farber did with her father. The doctors and nurses at the Institute helped her and her family get through the pain and fear that comes with cancer treatment. Howe was profoundly inspired by what she experienced. She learned that Dana-Farber fields a 100-person Boston Marathon team every year, which accepts applications from runners who plan to fundraise for the institute. While Dana-Farber was treating her father, she made the promise to join the team and one day run the Marathon for him.

“This year was finally my year,” she said.

Her father didn’t want her to run the Marathon in high school, fearing that she would burn out, but she kept working and never forgot her promise. She had started running before the diagnosis, five years ago, when her mother, Cathy Howe, introduced her to it. Since her mother was Howe’s age, she has been running and has even run eight Boston Marathons herself. While Howe hadn’t ran competitively before that, she learned from her mother’s extensive experience and worked at long distance running up to the point where she can now run the Marathon.

In the three years since her father’s diagnosis, she went to Oberlin College, transferred to Boston College, and applied to the Dana-Farber Marathon team. She was accepted and has now spent the last four months training and raising money. Most importantly, her father made a full recovery.

At 5:30 a.m. most days this past semester, Howe could be found running across campus. Every weekday of training consisted of an early-morning run, after which she immediately went off to class or work at one of her two internships, depending on the day. After a day of studying international relations and economics or working as an undergraduate research fellow for BC and an intern at a Ceres, a sustainability nonprofit, she was off to rehearsal for the theatre department’s production of Kingdom City. The production, written by Sheri Wilner, this year’s Monan Professor for Theatre Arts, ran during the end of the March after a long series of rehearsals. Her average day would end at 11 p.m., when rehearsal was over, with her next run only a few short hours away.

“This has probably been the most crazy semester of my entire life,” she said.

Her weekends were spent on her long run, which can be 18-to-23 miles long. The frantic “pretty unsustainable” schedule, physical difficulty, and mental roadblocks of the past few months have been straining, but she has pushed herself through it. When the running gets toughest, as she pushes to the end of her hardest 20-mile long runs, her thoughts turn to why she’s running in the first place.

“My cause is so special, I just kind of think about my dad every time I get to mile 18,” she said. “It’s like, ‘keep pushing, keep pushing. You have two more to go.’”

While thoughts of her father keep her going on difficult runs, her mother has remained a crucial part of Howe’s training. Unfortunately, they won’t be running the Marathon together this year. After sustaining an Achilles’ tendon injury, Howe’s mother continued running, exhibiting the same driving energy that Howe exhibits in abundance. But the injury grew worse and is now keeping Howe’s mother out of the race.

“It’s kind of like I’m taking up the baton,” Howe said.

Her mother will be waiting at the starting line on Marathon Monday. Many marathon runners most look forward to reaching downtown Boston or passing Mile 21, but Howe’s special connection is with the starting line. Hopkinton, Mass., where the Marathon begins, is her hometown. Just the other weekend, she took her long run all the way from her apartment to her family home, 23 miles away.

“That was crazy, but it was really cool to be able to run home,” she said. “Who gets to say that?”

After these long runs and months of training, as the Marathon gets closer, Howe believes the best part of working so hard has been feeling the improvement. This means not only the physical strength to run five miles without a second thought and push herself far beyond that, but the emotional strength that comes from breaking through what she is capable of and pushing herself further.

A week from now, 21 miles away from home where her parents stood watching, Howe will push toward the finish line, her thoughts on the promise she made.

Featured Image by Francisco Ruela / Heights Editor

A Brother’s Bond: Bennet Johnson Runs to Raise Money for Special Olympics

Just shy of four years after arriving from his Minnesota hometown, Bennet Johnson, MCAS ’17, is a mere seven days from running the Boston Marathon. Johnson, an English major and former three-year editorial board member of The Heights, has wanted to make the journey from Hopkinton, Mass. to downtown Boston ever since he first arrived on campus. Now, he will be doing so while supporting a cause close to him and his family.

Unlike the speed demons that qualify for the Marathon by running fast times at other marathons, Johnson will be running in a charity bib for the Special Olympics of Massachusetts, which helps people with mental and physical disabilities compete in sports. Johnson’s brother Sam is severely autistic, and although he personally does not participate in the Special Olympics, Johnson said that raising money for the organization would allow people like his brother to compete in the games.

“I wanted to do it for a charity that meant a lot to my family and that resonated with me,” Johnson said.

Tasked with raising at least $8,500 in donations as a minimum requirement from the Special Olympics, Johnson put his nose to the grindstone and has reached that goal.

“That’s my minimum, which is good,” he said. “Special Olympics wanted me to raise 10 [thousand], and I think that helps 26 athletes compete in the games each year, which is one for each mile I’ll be running. So that’s pretty cool.”

Such successes have not come without their challenges, however. Often seen tearing around the indoor track at the Plex, Johnson admitted that his lack of running knowledge prior to December caused him to sustain an overuse injury to his sartorius muscle (which runs diagonally down the front of the thigh), a muscle he didn’t even know existed.

He required physical therapy to help overcome the injury, but the local community stepped in to help. He saw a physical therapist, who now serves as his trainer, and is back on track to run the full marathon. Not only did the medical community step in to facilitate this 26.2-mile journey, but the running and business communities as well.

“The cool thing about doing this that I really didn’t know about is that there is such a community surrounding running in Boston,” he said.  

Johnson is from Minnesota, where he says no one would ever form these large communities around running for charity. This sense of community and service inspires Johnson as he nears the Marathon.

Agoro’s, a local Chestnut Hill bar and restaurant, also stepped in to help Johnson on the financial side of his venture. Allowing him to guest bartend for a student-based event, Johnson made money from his tips, and a portion of the proceeds for the night went toward his charity as well.

As the gap between now and the Marathon narrows, however, the pre-race nerves are present in the back of the Minnesotan’s mind. There are concerns about pacing and injuries, but the main emotion now is excitement. In a similar way to every other student on campus, Johnson is eagerly awaiting the ridiculousness surrounding Marathon Monday’s lore, albeit for a different reason than the average BC student.

Johnson said he has had his fair share of on-campus absurdity on Patriot’s Day, but that that is what he is most excited to experience while running the race this year. Mile 21 is both feared and adored by the runners. It is the top of “Heartbreak Hill,” named for its infamous difficulty. It’s also one of the rowdiest and best-lined sections of the race, giving the runners their due praise on the gentle downhill slope of Commonwealth Ave.

“I’m definitely trying to see all my friends and everything,” Johnson said. “There’s a cool thing where you can track where people will be, so it’ll be great to see everybody while I’m doing that.”

Johnson’s father, Restor Johnson, will also be flying in to cheer on his son, although most likely not among the rowdy at Boston College. Meeting his son downtown at the finish line on Boylston, Johnson’s dad will get to experience the conclusion of his son’s first marathon as he steps over the iconic blue and yellow banner.

Despite the excitement surrounding his approach to BC’s campus and seeing his dad, Johnson has not lost sight of the reason he is able to participate in the famed Marathon. Although Sam will be unable to attend the marathon himself, Johnson said that his family connection between the Boston Marathon, the Special Olympics, and his brother is what makes this experience special.

“I was really inspired growing up by the people taking care of Sam,” Johnson said. “All the doctors, my parents especially, social workers, and others who care for these people. And that’s what the Special Olympics does. So that’s really who I wanted to do this for. And being able to have all this money go to a great cause, that means a lot to my family and my brother especially.”

Featured Image by Francisco Ruela / Heights Editor

Buddied Up: Sean Kane Volunteers to Run for the Campus School

On any given weekend these past few months, Sean Kane, MCAS ’19, ran 15 miles. This was after a week filled with early morning runs, biology classes, work, volunteering, and club meetings. He always saved his longest runs for his days off, so he wouldn’t have to squeeze them in between his other commitments.

A reasonable person might ask Kane why he would add long runs and constant training to an already jam-packed routine. But he’d rather talk about Thiago.

Thiago is a child with special needs who meets with Kane, his buddy, every week at the Boston College Campus School. On Fridays, Kane interacts with Thiago and helps him as he learns to walk. They can’t speak to each other conventionally, as Thiago uses signs and symbols to communicate, such as touching his chest to indicate that he would like to see something. Despite this, Thiago’s teachers at the Campus School have worked at this sign language and have turned it into an advanced way to communicate. His ability to learn has significantly developed, and Kane continues to witness his progress with every visit.

“His time at the Campus School has done so many great things for him, and I’m learning more and more of them every time that we get together,” Kane said.

Gina Iozzo, the co-president of the Campus School Volunteers and MCAS ’17, first met Kane when he started volunteering for the Campus School.

“His connection with his buddy Thiago … is just so beautiful to watch,” she said. “The two of them are just like little best friends, like bros hanging out.”

The educational services and specialized care Thiago receives at the Campus School are made possible through fundraising. For years, the Campus School raised a large portion of its money by sponsoring unregistered bandit runners, who jump into the race and run alongside its official participants. The program received great interest from people who wanted to run but didn’t want to go through the difficulty of qualifying for the Marathon. While runners might only raise a few hundred dollars each, there were so many of them that the money ended up being a substantial part of the Campus School’s fundraising efforts. But after the 2013 Marathon bombings, bandit runners were no longer allowed in the race due to security concerns.

“It was a huge hit to us financially,” Iozzo said.

The next year, the Campus School and its volunteers had to search for a way to make up the lost bandit runner donations. For the first two years after the bombing, the school hosted its own fundraising race a week before the Marathon. Runners would run the same route and take on donations like before, but since they weren’t running during the actual Marathon, the interest was not substantial enough to make up for the money that the bandit runners used to raise. Instead, they put their efforts into getting registrations for the official Marathon and finding qualified runners to fundraise and run the race.

While he had never run a Marathon before, Kane had experience running in high school. More importantly, he wanted to help. Working with BC Best Buddies, which pairs a BC student and a person with special needs, he had developed an interest in service and mentorship. This led him to contact the Campus School and see different ways he could get involved. He had heard about the Campus School’s marathon fundraising efforts and asked if there was a way he could participate in that. When they offered him the chance to run for them, he leapt at the opportunity and got to work.

“This training has been definitely so much different than I expected,” he said. “A lot of times there were like unexpected snowstorms when I had to do my long runs.”

The rigorous training is unlike anything Kane’s done before and comes on top of his other commitments. While training for the Marathon, he is still on the eboard of Best Buddies, works for the Office of University Advancement and as a student health coach, and participates in WeRunBC.

“It’s like my maximum commitment right now,” Kane said.

Every Friday, he still meets with Thiago in between his other meetings and runs. It reminds him of the good the Campus School does as he works toward his fundraising goal.

Now the moment of truth is only a week away. Kane’s family is coming out to see him run the race alongside the hordes of BC kids lining Commonwealth Ave. Much of the excitement from his friends and families comes not only from seeing him run, but from knowing the good that he is doing. He expects to see many familiar faces cheering him on.

“It would be a pretty surreal moment when I pass a lot of them,” he said.

The reactions of those onlookers has been one of the most rewarding parts of training for Kane.

“When I tell them why I’m running the Marathon, it is the best feeling,” he said. “And it lets me know that this has been worth all of the hard work and all of the sweat and all of the runs.”

Featured Image Jake Catania / Heights Staff

Panel Predicts Bleak Future for Political Landscape After Trump’s Election

President Donald Trump is as erratic as Candidate Trump, and that’s not a good thing, according to Thomas Wesner, a professor in the Carroll School of Management.

Speaking with students Wednesday night, Wesner, Dennis Hale, an associate professor of political science, and Tracy Regan, an associate professor of economics, discussed their views on the first 100 days of the Trump administration during an event hosted by the Campus Activities Board and the Eagle Political Society.

Hale focused on Trump’s initial flurry of executive orders. These orders include a review of former President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan, a review of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, as well as more extreme orders, like Trump’s travel ban, which was blocked by a federal judge, and an authorization to build his promised wall along the border of Mexico.

Hale noted that an extensive use of executive orders is not unlike the Obama presidency and that many of Trump’s orders are specifically meant to undo executive orders from Obama’s administration.

“It’s a lot easier to write on a piece of paper and sign your name than it is to try to get Congress to sit down and pass a law,” he said.

Hale also discussed Trump’s foreign policy and characterized it as a struggle between his own personality and the wisdom of advisors. He expressed his confidence in many of Trump’s foreign policy appointees and stressed that many of them were widely respected figures in their field, not merely right-wing political ideologues. The question, is whether he will listen to them, he said.

“Trump’s foreign policy team has some genuine talent on it,” he said. “It’s very good that he has made some appointments of those far superior to him.”

Hale also addressed the surprise of the many who did not believe Trump’s election was possible. With a global perspective, such an election was not unusual, he said.

Besides the obvious example of Brexit, global financial instability, the wave of Middle Eastern migrants, and general discontent has spawned a wave of populism across the globe. He noted that far-right politicians have gained prominence across Europe, and that many countries, including Italy, Greece, and Brazil, have descended into near bankruptcy and what he called an ungovernable state. According to Hale, this means a continued presence for populism and political instability.

“I don’t know where it’s going to take us, but I think it’s here to stay for quite some time,” he said.

Regan analyzed the Republican’s failed American Health Care Act (ACHA), or “Ryancare,” and compared it with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), often called Obamacare. She noted Trump’s hesitancy to publically back the bill, contrasting it with his usual tendency to use his name for marketing.

“Trump very much took his name out of it, which is weird, because he’s a guy who puts his name on everything imaginable,” she said.

The bill’s numerous flaws cost it support from across the political spectrum, Regan said, where it was unanimously opposed by Democrats, unpopular among the elderly, and even called too moderate by the Republican Freedom Caucus.

Regan also criticized the bill for allowing companies to charge seniors premiums five times higher than young adults—the current cap is a threefold increase. She noted that RyanCare also lowered the minimum standards of health insurance plans, which she claimed made many plans nearly worthless.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, RyanCare would have resulted in 24 million people losing health insurance over 10 years and a spike in insurance premiums. Additionally, reduced access to birth control under the plan would increase Medicaid spending. One of the bill’s positive effects, lower Social Security spending, would come from an unfortunate source—increased mortality rates.

Wesner focused largely on Trump’s character and expressed disappointment at the example he set for today’s youth. Despite that, he said that Trump’s office deserves the respect of an objective evaluation. He often struggled to reconcile Trump’s rhetoric and behavior with the importance of the office that he holds.

He criticized Trump’s continued personal attacks, noting that Trump hasn’t changed his tone since the campaign. He said that the president’s attitude did not befit his office.

“Is it fair, honest, and truthful to say that he is unstable?” he said. “Or irrational? What would be a proper adjective to describe the president?”

Wesner also discussed the importance of the rule of law, particularly with regards to Trump’s immigration plans. He noted the right of a state to control its borders, but criticized Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and questioned its legitimacy in a nation historically composed of immigrants.

The mayors of cities with large immigrant populations face an especially tough choice, he said. Many of them have designated themselves as sanctuary cities, refusing to comply with federal officers that seek to round up undocumented immigrants.

“We have a proud tradition of disobeying unethical laws,” he said.

At the end of the panel, students asked about the Trump’s chance of reelection. Wesner said that the next election largely depended on the economy, and Regan noted that the Democrats needed to field a more effective candidate. Hale offered the harshest critique of Democrats and argued that their universal opposition to Trump’s proposals is misguided.

“The Democrats have decided to resist as if somehow Trump invaded the United States on a spaceship,” Hale said. “He’s the president because a lot of their voters lost faith in them. That’s a fact.”

Each of the panelists admitted that the future stability of the political landscape looks bleak, but Hale was the most openly pessimistic.

“The problems are daunting, and the solutions are pathetic,” he said. “The proposed solutions to most of our problems are way too thin, way too small to get anything accomplished.”

Featured Image by Alex Gaynor / Heights Staff

Splendid Spoon Delivers a New Life to Your Doorstep

Nicole Centeno, BC ’05, has often wondered what life might be like if there was a nutritious meal waiting for her every day when lunch rolled around. Instead of choking down a lunch salad composed of wilting greens and soggy vegetables, Centeno imagined indulging in a steaming and aromatic bowl of chickpea soup that would nourish the mind and body. But in her busy day-to-day life, spending hours in the kitchen bringing the meals she envisioned to life was impractical.

Speculating that others might have the same vision bouncing around their minds, Centeno founded “Splendid Spoon“, a company that she hoped would solve the lunch problems of customers across the country by delivering plant-based meals to their doorsteps every week.

Motivated by scientific research that shows increasing your daily vegetable intake is the simplest way to improve your health, Centeno developed Splendid Spoon as a national meal delivery service. Based on the idea that small changes can make a big difference in one’s life, Splendid Spoon’s wellness program provides nourishing vegan, gluten-free, and GMO-free meals to customers who can reap the benefits of intermittent fasting.

Centeno oversees a staff of eight at Splendid Spoon’s headquarters in New York City, where she works as its CEO. Her core responsibilities, which include communicating the brand’s message to press and investors as well as product development, provide her with the perfect vantage point from which she can ensure that the company runs smoothly. The rest of her team manages day-to-day operations, and experiments with new recipes in the test kitchen. Splendid Spoon meals are prepared by the company’s manufacturer in Hudson Valley, N.Y., and shipped to 40,000 customers in each of the contiguous 48 states. Though the majority of Splendid Spoon’s customers reside in the Northeast, the company has a strong presence in cities like Miami and Los Angeles.

After growing up in western Massachusetts, Centeno viewed going to school in Boston as a big step in her life. She remembers the “specialness” of Boston College, a school which she describes as always having been an aspiration for her. Centeno attributes much of Splendid Spoon’s beginnings to her time as a biology major at BC. She spent many hours in the lab of Thomas Seyfried, a professor of biology, researching the effects of intermittent fasting as a treatment for epilepsy.

“My interest on the powerful impact of diet on one’s health crystallized while I was conducting research on diet therapy in college,” Centeno said.

Shortly after graduating from BC, Centeno made the move to the Big Apple, where she began work with tech magazine Wired. As a media strategist, Centeno worked closely with publisher Condé Nast creating marketing programs to sell to brands like Samsung and American Express. During her time at Wired, Centeno realized she wasn’t exploring food the way that she had in college, leaving a void in her life. Hesitant to quit her stable job, Centeno instead took her salary and enrolled in night classes at the French Culinary Institute (now the International Culinary Center). There she learned even more about the discipline and art of cooking, preparing herself for the business that she would soon start

But even with that preparation, it wasn’t easy for Centeno to make the jump—people often ask her when she realized it was the right time. For her, she remained in deep contact with her intuition, which told her when it was time to make big decisions, and when it was time to hold back. Plus, she had a little surprise on the way.

“Shortly after I got pregnant with my first son, I knew it was time for me to launch Splendid Spoon,” Centeno said.

For Centeno, New York was the ideal environment to start her first business. The vibrant city is at the forefront of wellness trends, making it the perfect place for a health-related startup. Centeno knew that if Splendid Spoon succeeded in New York, it would be a market signal for the company to eventually expand nationally.

Splendid Spoon’s most popular wellness plan is a two-fold system called The Program. For $95 a week, customers receive 10 packaged plant-based meals. Five of those meals are part of the five-day swap, where you replace your lunch during the week for a wholesome and satisfying vegan bowl. Dishes like Thai coconut curry with mushrooms and eggplant are not only filling, but also full of bold flavors and textures.

The other five meals are part of the one-day cleanse. Centeno explains that the intention behind this part of the plan is helping the consumer connect with clean eating habits for one full day, giving the body a rest from processed food and excess sugar. Unique drinkable soups like parsnip apple and butternut turmeric are bottled and perfect for a meal on the go. Both the broths and the soups are dense with nutrients, and made with just the right balance of complex carbs, fats, and proteins.

In 2016, Centeno published her own cookbook based on many of the recipes that made Splendid Spoon a success. The Soup Cleanse Cookbook introduced those unfamiliar with the concept of a weekly soup cleanse to the simple and delicious recipes that could get them through the day.

Sathish Naadimuthu, the chief marketing officer of Splendid Spoon, works closely with Centeno on strategy and growth for the company. Naadimuthu oversees all the marketing elements of the company, including advertising and customer acquisitions.

Prior to being CMO of Splendid Spoon, Naadimuthu founded Goods of Record, a startup focused on men’s accessories that failed to take off. While at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, Naadimuthu received an email from Centeno, who reached out to the career office at Wharton to recruit graduate students to Splendid Spoon. Naadimuthu immediately saw potential in the business, and felt he could bring useful skills to the company.

“I have always had an interest in wellness, and the issues Splendid Spoon aims to solve really resonated with me,” Naadimuthu said.

According to Centeno, Splendid Spoon customers are primarily women ranging from age 24 to 55. The company, however, expects to branch out to more men in the future. Naadimuthu believes that Splendid Spoon is a perfect fit for anyone, regardless of gender, who wants to make a big change in their eating habits, but needs a practical and convenient option.

Centeno admitted that the life of an entrepreneur is one of survival. To leave behind the structures of a corporate job to be on your own is something Centeno described as “jarring and terrifying.” But she also sees the startup life as an indication that you are participating in the world in the best way possible. Centeno believes that the ability to find peace in uncomfortable situations is an entrepreneur’s greatest asset, as it helps them make decisions with clarity.

Naadimuthu thinks sky is the limit for the business. He and Centeno have big ambitions on where they want to go with Splendid Spoon, and even believe it could be a billion dollar company in the future.

In the future, Centeno hopes to explore partnerships with companies, and look into different distribution models for Splendid Spoon meals. She hopes one day Splendid Spoon bowls will be available in every airport or on every flight—moments when people tend to not look after themselves.

Centeno’s ultimate goal is the same as it was while studying in Seyfried’s lab: to share the impact of diet on health. With Splendid Spoon, Centeno wants to teach people about caring for themselves in the long term, a goal that isn’t as daunting as it sounds.

Actually, it’s as easy as opening a box on your porch.