The Undergraduate Government of Boston College held its first Senate meeting of the year on Tuesday, the first time the body has met since its new structural changes and the recent fall elections.
The newly assembled Senate first elected Crystal Pu, Lynch ’20, to serve as President Pro Tempore for the year. In her speech, Pu emphasized her connection to three of the four undergraduate schools at BC: She has taken classes in the Carroll School of Management, the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences, and the Lynch School of Education and Human Development.
Pu used her time to lay out her plans for the Senate this year. She promised to generate new avenues of communication between undergraduate students, senators, and the BC administration. These plans include increased use of social media for communication with the student body at large, mentorship programs for new senators, and increased involvement in student groups relating to mental health awareness, race inclusivity, and support for international students.
Turning to external goals, she promised an effort to reduce waiting times at University Health Services and Eagle’s Nest, expand research opportunities for undergraduates, and increase opportunities for students to attain internships via on-campus recruiting. She also declared an interest in bringing the current Massachusetts Senate candidates to campus through a speakers series.
Pu is one of five Senators for the Class of 2020.
The Senate also confirmed Salvador Norton de Matos and Czar Sepe, both senators for the Class of 2021 and MCAS ’21, as the chairs of the new Institutional Innovations Committee. The pair ran for their seat as a team: De Matos will fill the seat in the fall while Sepe studies abroad, and then they will switch in the spring.
The Institutional Innovation Committee is concerned with student rights and safety, arts, athletics, academic affairs, environment and sustainability, and student organizations.
In their shared platform, they said their goal is “to increase and enhance the efficiency of Boston College in regards to their ecological policies, transparency, and overall governance in the school.”
De Matos also advocated for a “softer” approach to institutional change, suggesting smaller steps aimed at making the University more carbon-friendly, which he contrasted with the “aggressive” action taken and advocated by students in Climate Justice BC.
He also cited his close personal relationship with University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J., as a potential avenue for environmental advocacy. De Matos said at the meeting that his ties with Leahy grew through a connection with a Jesuit at his high school.
Laura Perrault and John Gehman, both at-large senators and MCAS ’21, won the lead spot on the Intersectional Experience Committee. Like de Matos and Sepe, Perrault will serve for the fall semester and Gehman will serve for the spring semester.
The Intersectional Experience committee is concerned with racial and cultural inclusion, LGBTQ+ and gender inclusion, accessibility, socioeconomic inclusion, religious inclusion, and mental health. Last year, Gehman chaired the Intersections Committee, which had a similar jurisdiction.
Perrault pushed for increased dialogue within the student body and argued that the Senate has a role to play in initiating otherwise “uncomfortable” conversations. She declared that it is the Senate’s job to be an advocate for change on campus, specifically for underrepresented groups.
Featured Image by Jonathan Ye / Heights Senior Staff