Student Assembly Representatives Talk Mental Health Resources, BC Dining — The Heights
At their Tuesday evening meeting, Student Assembly (SA) representatives discussed what they categorized as two issues facing Boston College students: mental health and food and food insecurity. .
“Our presentation to the board went very well – many interesting questions were asked by members about the board and what it looks like for our students,” said UGBC Vice President Julia Spanish.
Spagnola, MCAS ’23, said she spoke with the board about creating a safer space for students to talk about their mental health with faculty advisors and their teachers. The SA suggested working on creating a system allowing students to miss class without penalty for mental health reasons.
“I reached out my hand to [University Counseling Services] on consolidating our mental health resources into an accessible format on the Agora portal,” Spagnola said. “So that all resources, whether [a] website, links or phone numbers – would be put in one place.
The AS then debated the fairness of BC’s dining room plans as well as the perceived decrease in portion sizes. SA Junior Class Representative Jake Kauffman, CSOM ’24, proposed a survey to collect data on the number of students experiencing food insecurity related to BC Dining.
“The problem now is inflation,” Kauffman said. “It’s really hard to solve these problems when we don’t have data.”
Community Relations President Josh Golden, MCAS ’25, said an investigation would prepare the SA for possible conversations with the BC administration.
“I think they are less likely to offer these [counter] arguments if we can present them to a research group at a board meeting,” Golden said. “There are a lot of counter-arguments they could make, and we need reasons to prove otherwise.”
Several SA members have offered to hold food drives for students to collect non-perishable items for the winter months and possibly urge BC Dining to move from a credit-based system to a scan-based.
Spagnola said in previous conversations that BC Dining rejected the possibility of creating a swipe-based system for several reasons, including sustainability and profit concerns.
“There’s been a conversation about moving to the swipe-based system, and the question of sustainability comes up because it’s not just a question of what a student takes but how much,” Spagnola said.
According to Spagnola, the administrators had previously rejected the integration of a third-party company into BC Dining due to wage differentials between employees.
“Somebody who works in a dining room is going to earn or get the same benefits as an administrator,” Spagnola said. “It’s something that…the University sort of takes on as a mission. By preserving this mission, you cannot ensure that a student receives these same benefits while working for a Chipotle.