UGBC Creates Policy Caucus
Published: Sunday, September 16, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
One of the biggest problems facing any college group is institutional memory. Because there is a 100 percent turnover at the undergraduate level every four years, many student groups find it difficult to maintain momentum and continuity over different generations of college students. While this does give the opportunity to reinvent themselves to better serve the current population, it also poses problems when trying to effect changes outside of the group.
This problem is particularly pronounced within student government. As a group that not only programs events for the student body, but also tries to work with the administration to make changes to university policy, student government run into the problem of constantly new officers working with seasoned administrators.
Acutely aware of this problem, UGBC is making an effort this year to coordinate and record policy initiatives in order to change the status quo. Under the leadership of Matthew Alonsozana, senator and A&S ’14, the UGBC Senate, Cabinet, ALC, and GLC are working together to create a Policy Caucus.
“The Policy Caucus is made up of representatives of all the different groups in UGBC working on policy,” Alonsozana said. “The goal is to coordinate policy on campus between all the different groups. The administration and student leaders want consolidation and this requires team work on a lot of issues.”
Alonsozana outlined four major goals that the caucus is trying to achieve. These goals are based on the increased interest and involvement of the student body in the University and desire to continue the trend.
“We want to foster networking and dialogue between different groups working on policy at the undergraduate level,” Alonsozana explained. “We want to promote successful collaboration on a variety of policy issues. We want to bridge the gap between student policy coordinators and the student body itself. Finally, we want to develop and continue a policy agenda across a sustained amount of time.”
One of the most pressing needs that the student body has identified as needing action is dining.
After the changes last year to the dining plan, many students have expressed discontent with the new mini-marts and the reclassification of Hillside. One thing that has not been implemented yet, but is planned, is the restriction on Boston College RSOs to be required to use BC Catering.
“The AHANA groups, specifically the Asian Caucus, the AHANA caucus, and ALC policy, are groups concerned with the third part of the plan, as they represent culture groups,” Alonsozana said. “The Cabinet, specifically University Affairs and Student Life, and the Senate are concerned primarily with the already implemented changes. The hope is that by the end of the year there will be a report to submit to the administration.”
Alonsozana stressed that there are a lot of groups on campus trying to do the same things on the same issues. With the same questions being asked by multiple people, he emphasized the frustration that administrators experience.
Alonsozana highlighted the effective division of labor that can harness the skills of each group to effect change that can occur under the umbrella of the Policy Caucus.
“A university student is involved in policy for at most three years,” Alonsozana said. “Few records are kept and networks die. The Caucus tries to meet the need of continuity. The Caucus will become increasingly important, as student leaders become more discerning. I think the policy explosion will change the face of student government and student initiatives on campus for the foreseeable future.”