News, On Campus

UGBC Senate Talks Transportation Costs for Clinicals and Practicums, Expanding Cultural Diversity Core Offerings

In its first public meeting of the semester, the UGBC Senate discussed initiatives to subsidize transportation costs for students enrolled in practicums and clinical experiences. 

According to UGBC Vice President Meghan Heckelman, students often need to fund their own costs of transportation to clinicals and practicums—which are required for Connell School of Nursing students and most Lynch School of Education and Human Development students.

“Regardless of the situation—to have to be paying out of pocket for something that’s required academically—that’s not ideal,” Heckelman, LSEHD ’25, said.

Student senators proposed a variety of potential solutions, including providing Uber or Lyft vouchers for students and expanding an existing program that funds transportation costs to and from internships for low-income students. 

According to Ryan Milligan, academic affairs committee chair and MCAS ’26, the high number of students enrolled in these programs—around 450 students in the Lynch practicum alone, by his estimate—would make it difficult to fund the program without outside donations. 

“It’s gonna be expensive, probably, because there are a lot of students,” Milligan said. “We’re gonna approach [the Office of University Advancement] to try to get them to either fund it or help find a donor to fund it going forward.”

Delphine Gareau, student senator and MCAS ’26, gave an update on efforts to incorporate courses about sustainability into BC’s core curriculum by potentially allowing them to fulfill the cultural diversity core requirement. 

“I’m hoping to come up with a tentative list of classes and/or professors who would be willing to work with me on getting some of those classes to count for cultural diversity,” Gareau said.

Because sustainability courses often touch on issues of environmental inequities and disparities, Meier said she believes they would be compatible with the cultural diversity requirement.

“I think that, within the exploration of finding which classes would count for sustainability, it would definitely incorporate environmental justice as well,” Meier said.

Striking a balance between promoting sustainability-focused courses and ensuring students are exposed to important issues surrounding cultural diversity is also essential, Heckelman added.

“I think it’s important to maintain the integrity of the cultural diversity mission and not lose that by incorporating,” Heckelman said. “I think there’s a way to add but not subtract from it.”

The Senate then entered executive session—a private meeting closed to the public—to give members an opportunity to discuss the sustainability proposal and what impact it would have on the cultural diversity core requirement.

Minnah Abdel-Naby, student senator and MCAS ’27, raised concerns about the Montserrat textbook subsidy program, which covers the cost of two textbooks each semester for qualifying students.

According to Abdel-Naby, the deadline—which was at the end of last semester—left students few options if they opted to change their schedule during the add/drop period.

“It’s a systemic issue,” Abdel-Naby said. “Let’s say [a Monserrat student] were to add or drop a class on the last day, and the deadline had already passed and they couldn’t change their books—then it’s just a whole mess, which is unfair for them, obviously.”

The Senate concluded the meeting by discussing efforts to promote the women’s lacrosse team’s game on April 3, which will support Morgan’s Message, a nonprofit dedicated to reducing stigma and barriers surrounding mental health treatment for college athletes. 

Heckelman urged members to continue advocating for mental health issues like those raised by Morgan’s Message.

“Last year, I feel like UGBC did a ton of mental health stuff, and I’ve wanted to do more this semester,” Heckelman said. “I’m really passionate about it and I know a lot of other people are, and people run on that kind of thing. I feel like a lot of BC students tend to resonate with that, so let’s keep it up.”

Update (Jan 31, 2024 9:40 a.m.): This article was corrected from a previous version to note that there are 450 students enrolled in CSON nursing clinicals, not in Lynch practicums.

Correction (Jan. 31, 2024 8:11 a.m.): This article was corrected from a previous version to note that Delphine Gareau, MCAS ’26, suggested adding sustainability courses to the cultural diversity core requirement, not Lindsay Meier, MCAS ’26.

January 31, 2024