President and Vice President of the Undergraduate Government of Boston College Michael Osaghae, MCAS ’20, and Tiffany Brooks, MCAS ’21, met with the Board of Trustees on Sept. 30 to discuss their top priorities for the upcoming school year. The meeting primarily surrounded general topics that the duo has planned to focus on, rather than specific proposals.
September’s meeting marked their first quarterly meeting, although the two groups had an introductory session last June.
Osaghae said that they addressed mental health on campus, resources for ANANA+ and LGBTQ+ students, and campus innovations.
“We talked a lot about what are some of the things students are calling for, what are some of the things that students are experiencing on campus,” Osaghae said.
Among the many points that Osaghae and Brooks presented was the issue of mental health. Both parties discussed the resources available on campus to support students, as well as what actions UGBC and the Board can take in the future to further aid students with mental health initiatives.
Osaghae said that much of this initial discussion addressed UGBC’s role as a middleman between the student body and the University. This position allows student representatives to both listen to student concerns and keep track of University initiatives and offices that the student body might have overlooked, he said.
He said that he hopes to drive action, conversation, and policy changes concerning mental health resources for students, faculty, and staff by virtue of that role.
“We talked a lot about what are the areas that are lacking, what are areas that students feel they could be more supported, but also how can UGBC play a role in dispersing more knowledge about what is going on on campus, what is already available, and how can we better assist the many programs that many offices try to take on,” Osaghae said.
No long-term goals were set at this meeting, Osaghae said. Instead, he and Brooks provided the board with an array of issues on students’ minds in hopes of it leading to more substantive conversations and actions by both parties in the future.
UGBC has planned to reach out to different student organizations to further understand the needs and wants of students on campus.
“For future meetings, we hope to do more intentional outreach to various student organizations, specifically across the lines of intersectional experience, like students of color, LGBTQ+ folks, but also how can we push forward the conversation around climate change [and] the environment on campus in a real visceral fashion,” Osaghae said.
Topics that did not come up at the meeting aren’t necessarily excluded from future agendas—UGBC is meant to reflect the priorities of the student body, Osaghae said. He gave the example of environmental activism and sustainability efforts as something that could come up in the future.
“We’re a student government for all students so listening to the student body and then coming up with what is the most pressing and [what] things we need to prioritize given the moment on campus,” said Osaghae.
Osaghae noted the emphasis he placed on conveying student voices to the Board of Trustees at this meeting and UGBC’s ongoing effort to listen to the student body. He believes the board is open to hearing the student opinion and perspective.
“It’s our job as UGBC to amplify the voices of our student body and by taking a generalist approach in this first meeting we conveyed a lot of student opinions, student perspectives on some of the programs, initiatives, and issues on campus that might not otherwise have a student voice or student perspective,” he said.
Looking forward, UGBC has plans to tackle more specific issues and topics on campus with the Board of Trustees and aspires to continue to incorporate student voices whenever possible.
“We’re really excited to, one, just represent [the] student body, amplify their voices at the next meeting, and if you have an issue on your mind or want to bring a topic forward to reach out to us. Reach out to our email. Reach out through our social media cause we’re always listening, and that’s what we always want, to be proactive in our approach.”
Featured Image by Jess Rivilis / Heights Staff