The Undergraduate Government of Boston College (UGBC) will be launching a new initiative called “Senators in Residence Halls” this September, according to Ignacio Fletcher, executive vice president of UGBC and MCAS ’20. Senators will be assigned to represent students in every residence hall on campus. The only delay in the launch of the initiative will come for freshmen: Special UGBC elections are being held to determine freshman representatives on Sept. 24, so assignments on Newton and Upper Campus will come shortly after elections conclude.
“The Senators in Residence Halls Initiative is basically focused on doing more outreach for students,” Fletcher said. “Knowing that UGBC wants to be more present on campus, seeing the bias related incidents happen last year, we don’t want that to happen again this year. We want to be present in every single corner of BC’s campus and we want to make sure that no student feels alone … and that every student feels represented.”
Fletcher conceded that in the past, UGBC hasn’t been able to represent every student on campus since other organizations would step in and do that job for them—the governing body’s influence across campus had didn’t reach as far as he and UGBC President Reed Piercey, MCAS ’19, were comfortable with, especially considering the issues that plagued the BC community last year. Now, they believe it’s time for UGBC to step up for every member of the campus community. To do that, the administration has been concentrating on improving social media efforts to increase UGBC’s online visibility, but on campus, the two decided the best way to connect to the entire BC student body was to get into residence halls.
“Reed and I have that question of ‘how can we be more present in outreach?’ … But even social media campaigns and methods, we can only get so many likes on it and we can only reach so many people that like our pages,” Fletcher said. “We understand the impact that RAs have on students in every single aspect at BC.”
“Both [UGBC and Residence Life] want students to feel at home at BC. So therefore, working together we’ll be able to reach out to even more student communities and we were be able to know even more concerns and issues that arise throughout the year, that way we can tackle those problems at the root and not let them grow.”
The administration is trying to emulate the work BC Residence Life does: Posters with pictures of senators will be put up in residence halls to make students aware of who their representative is, how to contact them, and what seat the senator holds to increase awareness of UGBC resources students can take advantage of.
“It’s a very simple idea, but it shows the presence of senators, so that way students can walk out of the year saying ‘That’s my senator,’” Fletcher said.
He believes that familiarizing the student body with its representatives will improve the overall work UGBC does immeasurably. Now, students can more easily contact their senator to pitch initiatives and resolutions. Senators won’t necessarily live in the building they represent—it’s logistically impossible—but Piercey and Fletcher have ensured that each building will have their class representatives as their residence hall senator as well. Freshmen will represent freshmen, sophomores sophomores, and so on.
For the 2018-19 school year, there aren’t currently plans to push the initiative beyond BC’s boundaries to students living off campus—Fletcher would like to work on making the current initiative on campus as successful as possible before moving off campus.
“We’re trying to answer the questions [for students] what is UGBC, who is UGBC, and what has UGBC done,” he said. “Any resolution any ideas any resolutions—they’ll know who to contact.”
Featured Image by Kaitlin Meeks / Heights Editor