The Undergraduate Government of Boston College’s “Your UGBC” campaign continues into its fourth week with the goal of fostering a more inclusive and welcoming environment for Boston College’s AHANA student body.
“Your UGBC,” a five-week program intended to improve campus-wide discourse and achieve greater transparency with UGBC, was organized in order to highlight five areas for improvement during the 2015 to 2016 academic year.
“In our attempts to strengthen UGBC's role as an advocacy body, UGBC has decided to pick five advocacy focus areas for the year,” UGBC President Thomas Napoli stated. “By focusing each week on a certain topic, we will be engaging with different communities, which will in turn allow us to reach a broader audience, hear more diverse perspectives and have our own advocacy goals talked about by a greater number of community members.”
The topics for the five weeks are mental health awareness and resource expansion, free expression rights protection, LGBTQ student resource improvement, AHANA student inclusion and Freshmen year ease of adjustment to BC.
UGBC aims to further open BC’s dialogue by listening to the student body’s ideas for improvement in all five areas and to help students understand UGBC’s strategies for the year. “UGBC decided on these goals after having multiple conversations with students across campus, talking with administrators about which areas could see the most improvement and assessing which communities or issues were in most vital need of advocacy support,” Napoli explained.
These five areas of focus have been titled “The Big 5,” and in the past three full weeks, UGBC has provided numerous programs: presentations by activists, a book signing by a mental health advocate, comedian and speaker named Kevin Breel, information tables set up with spokespeople, literature on the weekly topic of concern, free stickers and t-shirts, games, food, a Hispanic heritage event outside of O’Neil and more.
Through the programs, UGBC wants to achieve greater transparency and close the distance between the student body and the student government. “UGBC is here to serve and advocate for students. So at the end of the day, it's the students who should be directing UGBC's actions and advocacy goals,” Napoli affirmed. “Although it is still early on, it appears that this [the “Big 5” goals] is helping us reach for larger advocacy goals, as we are very focused this year.”
“We wanted to make it easier for students to engage with and take part in the conversations happening on campus,” Napoli began. “By meeting students where they are at -- in the quads, on social media, at events and even on Campus Voice -- we hoped to start a dialogue with any student who is willing to engage about Boston College and how it can be better.”
“It has been incredibly inspiring to hear the feedback of students across campus in our general feedback tabling on Fridays,” Napoli confessed. “Students are incredibly passionate about issues ranging from resources on mental health on campus, to increasing a more inclusive community for AHANA students, to even more tangible matters such as working with Dining to increase options and putting laundry in the mods. We are very excited to work on all of these matters.”
In addition to the improvements in campus cohesion and dialogue, an equally integral part of “Your UGBC” has been the tangible improvements UGBC has made. “So far, we have released our freshmen women’s resource guide, our mental health resource guide and the increased bus hours UGBC has advocated for,” Napoli stated. “Next week, we will have an update on the printers on lower campus.”
The events this week include a talk by Daniel Dae Kim of television series “Lost” and “Hawaii 5-0,” a confidence coaching session, teddy bear stuffing and an “Increasing Inclusivity Table. ”All students interested in taking part in the “Your UGBC” campaign are encouraged to check out the Undergraduate Government of Boston College Facebook page, the @UGBC Twitter account or UGBC.org for more information on the events to come.