Interview With Sullivan-Tonkovich
Published: Sunday, February 5, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
The Heights:What's on your platform?
CS: Our slogan has been "including U in UGBC." So like Dan says, after speaking with lots of student leaders on campus, and administrators, we really came together, reflected on our experiences, and decided that the most important part of our platform is including the undergraduate student body in student government. That means the undergraduate population as a whole, and the undergraduate as an individual. One of our biggest things that we want to do as soon as we get elected into office is advertise the Create your Own Directorship program and the UGBC Startup Fund. Right now in UGBC you can apply for a directorship that's already established. And while UGBC is already established and really good at looking at students' needs, there are a lot of passions that students have that aren't really being addressed. It's kind of hard for students to get involved right now, so what we're saying is, if you have an idea, come to UGBC, and we'll help you do it. Splash is the example that really came to mind. I was fortunate to get involved with UGBC through Splash. We started a program that got a lot of success and now it's a successful RSO on campus, and it wouldn't have been possible without UGBC. Now I want other students to have that opportunity.
DT: The undergraduate government has an immense amount of resources at their disposal, from the human capital side with people, from an experience in policy side, from a management side, from a financing side—all of the elements you need to run a successful program. When you come up with a new idea, you need that sponsorship, that full support behind you. That's the confidence and reassurance that this program provides. You have that open avenue. You can apply and have the full support of a well-organized group behind you
CS: The other thing is, UGBC has arguably the best student leaders on campus. Why not let students that have these ideas get that mentorship of people who have already done it before? So you get that directorship, you get put into a department, now you have that support network to help you put out the idea.
DT: We also have the Startup Fund, so when you have that new idea, that passion, we'll have an allotted set of money to help you with it. It's an open application, so you can either apply in the spring with the traditional application process or during the school year. We're thinking a lot about the freshmen and sophomores that maybe didn't get a chance to get involved. So what we're saying is, if you've got an idea in October and you missed the deadline, you don't have to wait. Apply now, and if it's a good enough cause and it's a good enough idea we'll take you on right away. A common student grievance is that a student will meet with a faculty member and pitch a new idea, but the common response is, "You find the money and I will fully support you." This gives them a forum where that financing is readily available.
CS: One of our really big things is a program called Let's Talk. Something that came up in conversations with students and other student leaders is that there are a lot of things that get discussed in small groups, like in residence halls, and there are a lot of RSOs set up to discuss certain issues, but there's no public forum where students can say, "This is my view on this controversial topic, and I want to discuss this." How we envision the program happening: we use O'Neill Plaza in something similar to Take Back the Night. What we like about that is that students are able to openly talk about their experiences, and they're talking to Boston College with Gasson in the background and the BC student body looking on. What we say is, let's apply that to other issues: race, gender, GLBTQ, sexual health, class issues, any controversial issue that BC feels they want to talk about. We'll give them that platform. We would choose a varied set of speakers.
DT: It would be an intense selection process. We want to present a diverse set of speakers that would be checked for their logical argument in terms of their validity, but still present a diverse view of experiences and present them in an open forum to spark discussion. It really is about getting BC students comfortable in addressing these issues and advancing the intellectual and student life at the same time. It's all intertwined. The benefit of this program is that because it would be so public, it promotes student action. Not to mention, Conor and I would be there, members of UGBC would be there. It presents an open forum where we can actually come up with a resolution of what the common student experience is from an ongoing dialogue and see if UGBC can actively work to propose an on campus solution.