State of the Heights: Student Activities and Involvement

Welcome to the 'State of the Heights' a new Gavel column focusing on exposing the student body to the inner workings of UGBC.  The next column will be on Mental Health and Well-being at Boston College! If you have any questions which you would like answered by representatives from UGBC on this topic, please send it to [email protected] with "State of the Heights" in the subject line. The first 'State of the Heights' column will begin with an interview on student activities and involvement with the executive branch of UGBC, President Nanci Fiore-Chettiar and Vice President Chris Marchese. To introduce themselves to you we had them fill out their very own Gavel bios. Name, school, and your favorite Beyonce lyric. Go. Fiore-Chettiar: So my name is Nanci Fiore-Chettiar. I am in A&S studying sociology, but I am also in a dual degree program so I am also getting my master’s degree in social work in the Graduate School of Social Work. And my favorite Beyonce lyric is just the song, Schoolin’ Life. Marchese: My name is Chris Marchese. I am also in A&S and I’m studying Political Science with an interest in education policy. And I hate myself right now, but my favorite Beyonce lyric is “We be all night, and everything alright.” And how did you first get involved at BC? Marchese: I went on 48 Hours [as a freshman], and I know it sounds corny, but it really changed my perspective on BC and how to get involved. One of the leaders mentioned to me running for student government and so I came back from that retreat motivated to learn more about the organization. I became really interested so I ran and was elected to a Senate seat.

Gavel Media/Jonathan Keedy

Gavel Media/Jonathan Keedy

Sophomore year, I also became involved in the Bellarmine Law Society... It is much more laid back than UGBC and it is fun being around a bunch of upperclassmen who seemed to have their lives figured out... I am also a part of an unrecognized student organization called AEI on Campus which tries to promote civic engagement and discussion on college campuses concerning politics and public policy. Fiore-Chettiar: My freshman year, I went on Appa in Michigan and I actually met two of my best friends there... I did that because service had always been a part of my extracurricular life in high school... With UGBC, I applied as a freshman because student government was my favorite thing that I had done in high school. I wanted to do campus entertainment which involved planning events like homecoming and concerts... I was placed in community relations, which I was not super thrilled with, but [eventually] I found something that I was very passionate about: social justice and raising awareness. I came to love the work that I did my freshman year and I found a family there as well. That program was formative for me and was a huge part of why I continued with it.

Image courtesy of Facebook/UGBC

Image courtesy of Facebook/UGBC

Boston College has this Jesuit Tradition and one of the mantras of this tradition is the idea of Men and Women for Others. How do you think the service aspect shapes how BC is shaped and defined? Fiore-Chettiar: I think it plays a huge role in who we are as a community. I think a lot of students participate in service at BC whether that is through academic service like PULSE or extracurricular like 4Boston which is more localized or even going abroad like Arrupe. There are a lot of opportunities to get involved in service. One of my favorite parts about the service that we have here is that we can still challenge the service that we do. So when I went on Arrupe to El Salvador, I really struggled with the idea of service and why I was there and what it means to serve. There was a space for me to challenge what I was doing and how to best serve. I believe that reflection component contributes to our formation as a student and as a person as opposed to just a pat on the back or a resume pad-er. What do you think that BC has to offer that makes it different from other schools in the country or in the area? Marchese: I also think that, internally, clubs here provide better mentorship than at other schools. I have talked to my friends and they are very passionate about their clubs as well, but it’s a little bit different here. The exposure to mentors that freshmen, sophomores and even juniors [have] is increased here at BC and I think that is very powerful. What do you think students at BC offer to their organizations that helps shine a light on BC as an institution? Marchese: The dedication. 4Boston is a great example because it is so demanding, especially in the time members have to volunteer for that. The amount of meetings I hear everyone having, the amount of work and people going the extra mile really shows that it’s not just about building your resume. I truly feel that people feel connected to what they are doing and consequently, people are more willing to put in the extra effort and time without having to be asked to. The Student Involvement Fair is Friday and many students, particularly freshmen are going to be looking for how they might want to get involved. What would you say to them about why they should get involved at BC?

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Photo courtesy of Facebook/UGBC The 2014-2015 UGBC Executive Council

Fiore-Chettiar: There are three things that I think are important and should motivate students to get involved. First, it is a way to find your home. Here at BC, there are so many undergrads and it’s easy to feel lost and confused, especially in your freshmen year when you are trying to figure out your major or being away from home. For me and so many others, getting involved was a way to find that home away from home. Second, the mentor you can gain from being involved. I think [freshmen] can learn a lot from the upperclassmen in organizations... Finally, it is a way to find what you are passionate about. I never really thought about that before coming to BC. I had come here on a whim and I wasn’t sure what I wanted my major to be and all of that, but I think that even in signing up for things that I ultimately found out were not for me showed me more about who I am, what I care about and what I believe in. Marchese: One of the realizations that I had very early on in freshmen year was that everyone at this school is intelligent and everyone seems like they were either the captain of the varsity football team or the student body class president... It is really overwhelming at first and you feel you might be losing what made you special in high school. So getting involved is also learning how to continue to develop as a person in a new context. It helps you learn more about yourself outside of an academic context. You find that you are more than what is just written on paper. Thank you! And remember everyone: Get involved! The Student Involvement Fair will take place this Friday from 10am- 2pm.

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