Tori Fisher / Gavel Media

UGBC Reflects on Campaign Promises

After a semester in office, UGBC President Thomas Napoli, A&S ’16, and UGBC Vice President Olivia Hussey, A&S ’17, are hopeful they will see the effects of their hard work in the coming semester. So far this academic year, Napoli and Hussey have focused on advocacy for what they call “The Big Five,” which includes expanding mental health resources and awareness, protecting free expression, increasing LGBTQ resources, creating a more inclusive environment for AHANA students, and improving the freshman experience.

“I’ve been really happy with the steps the organization has taken as an advocate,” said Napoli. “It’s a cultural shift of students seeing that they can stand up for themselves and what they want, and I think that’s going to continue in the long run.”

One way in which UGBC has been an advocate is by watching out for free speech violations. Through the UGBC website, one can submit both a Demonstration Form and a Free Expression Reporting form. A Demonstration Form is a way for groups of students that are not official clubs to apply, with the help of UGBC, to host a protest on campus, while a Free Expression Reporting form provides students a way to tell UGBC about ways in which they feel their right to free speech has been infringed upon.

“As far as I know, not a single demonstration has been denied by the Dean of Students Office this year,” Napoli said, stressing the importance of having a free speech “watchdog” on campus.

Both Napoli and Hussey said that the upcoming semester would be full of UGBC programming, as well as improvements in the quality of student life. “It is a lot of upfront time doing prep work and in meetings and so many emails that you don’t really see all the benefits in the first semester, so second semester there’s a lot going on,” said Hussey.

Hussey said that this spring, students will likely see the long-awaited printers coming in, as well as coupon books to be used at the Chestnut Hill Mall and free MBTA passes for students in the Connell School of Nursing. Additionally, UGBC is currently working with BC Dining Services to create more vegan options and extend dinner to 8:30 p.m.

The student involvement fair, which will take place on Thursday, Jan. 28, will be the largest in several years, and many of this semester's programs will revolve around “The Big Five," including four mental health spotlights beginning with the What I Be Project that commences on Monday, Jan. 25.

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