News, On Campus

UGBC Senate Shares Updates on Pine Manor, Discusses Ideas for Outdoor Study Spaces

The Pine Manor Institute for Student Success (PMI) is primed to serve students next year, despite the increased responsibilities it has taken on, student senators shared at the UGBC Senate meeting on Tuesday night.

The Senate intersectionality committee sat down for a meeting with Karl Bell, director of mentoring and academic achievement at PMI, last week.

“He was basically saying that we do feel equipped to handle what we’ve taken on, which is honestly really good to hear,” said Colleen Blascik, first-generation student representative and MCAS ’27.

Blascik said she expressed concerns during the meeting that the number of incoming QuestBridge scholars—nearly triple the inaugural class of scholars in 2021—would render it difficult to adequately support each student within PMI.

“I was asking Karl how [PMI] feels about the resources that they have—[does he] feel equipped to handle the new incoming QuestBridge class and just a lot of the things that are now under the umbrella of PMI,” Blascik said.

Bell said the primary problem that PMI faces is not a lack of resources, but rather connecting those resources with students who need them, added Katie Garrigan, Senate intersectionality committee chair and MCAS ’25.

“The resources are there and people are willing to help,” Garrigan said. “It’s just a matter of getting students in the door and making sure they feel comfortable in those spaces.”

Garrigan said the Senate intersectionality committee is planning an open house event later this semester to showcase PMI’s offerings to students who might otherwise feel uncomfortable reaching out for help and resources.

“We’re hoping that something like the open house can emulate some of those vibes, where it’s a little more comfortable to walk in the first time, and then you meet your first-gen advisor, you have more relationships with them—it’s just kind of getting those first touch points,” Garrigan said.

The Senate also discussed ways to provide students greater access to outdoor spaces around campus for studying and leisure.

“As we saw this past week on the one day where it was above 50 degrees, everyone was out on the Quad all day, so just providing spaces where [students] can work as well as relax in those environments,” said Addie Weiss, student senator and MCAS ’27.

Senators suggested adding outlets and umbrellas to existing outdoor spaces such as Stokes Amphitheater and the terrace outside Devlin Hall to make them conducive to studying during warmer months.

Blascik said she hopes to provide more spaces for students to casually socialize with friends outside of their residence halls, noting that unlike various other universities, BC lacks a student union.

“I was wondering if the partnership could also be made to expand space on campus for students to sort of just collaborate and have fun,” Blascik said. “We really only have the lounges or the dining halls to be with our friends and just enjoy the company of other people.”

March 19, 2024