News, On Campus

Senate Meeting Highlights Montserrat Laundry Subsidy Program

UGBC Vice President Meghan Heckelman praised the success of the Montserrat laundry subsidy program in the Tuesday night Senate meeting, citing the efforts of Montserrat Student Representative Alexis Thomas and Senate Intersectionality Committee Chair Katie Garrigan, MCAS ’25.

“We set up a form … and sent it out, and after like 10 minutes, we got almost 100 responses, which is pretty crazy,” Thomas, MCAS ‘25, said. “For context, the first 100 people that are deemed eligible, you know, who filled out that form first, will get that subsidy.” 

Thomas said the form asked respondents for feedback on the initiative, a program that seeks to provide Montserrat students with laundry money, and what they wanted to see from UGBC and Montserrat more generally. The form received over 300 responses, according to Thomas.

“One [response] I think that really kind of illustrated how important this is, saying ‘I feel gutted when I have to dig into my small savings because I can’t afford to not wash my sheets for another week,’” Thomas said. 

Thomas noted that the most common suggestion from students was Montserrat meal plan subsidies, along with discounted groceries. 

“Montserrat does have a good hospitality policy and a pantry, so these things are kind of already provided but still people are mentioning it, which means they don’t know about it,” Thomas said. “So, in a way, we have to keep pushing that and making that known.” 

Boston College has provided a meal plan subsidy in the past, but decided not to run the program this year, according to Garrigan. 

“Because prior to this year, they were factoring in the cost of two meals a day,” Garrigan said. “Now they’re factoring in the cost for three meals a day for seven days a week.”

Garrigan said that while a subsidy program will not be run, if students have concerns about food insecurity, they can talk to their financial aid counselor. 

“No student is going to go hungry,” Garrigan said. 

Another idea that Thomas presented was helping fund travel expenses for students who cannot go home over school breaks due to money problems.

Heckelman said that while it would not be possible to fly students to California, for example, one way that UGBC is helping the student body alleviate travel expenses is by providing shuttles to the Boston Logan International Airport and South Station over Thanksgiving and Easter vacations. 

“So even if it’s not like major holiday travel, if we can help in a small way to alleviate an $80 Uber that nobody wants to pay for, that’s a little thing that BC does,” Heckelman, LSHED ’25, said.

Lindsay Meier, environment and sustainability policy coordinator, also spoke at the meeting. She said she recently met with facilities managers to talk about the state of BC’s turf fields, the replacement process behind them, and if BC would consider using cork turf instead of rubber. 

“They had some issues with it,” Meier, MCAS ’26, said. “The primary ones were like drainage, the cork floating and then it crumbling so it would break into smaller pieces, and then it doesn’t pass the test that it needs to.” 

Meier said that she met with a cork representative, who said the issues facilities raised have been solved in the last 10 years. 

“There’s a lot of environmental points to it, CO2 negative is renewable, not recyclable, which is above recyclable,” Meier said. “And then there’s a lot of not environmental benefits to it … it’s non-abrasive, so you don’t get turf burns, mainly as bad, and it can decrease the temperature on the field by 10 to 20 percent, which would be huge.” 

Besides these discussions, the Senate also unanimously voted to nominate Colleen Blascik, MCAS ’27, as the first-generation student representative for the 2023–24 academic year. 

October 18, 2023