Boston University Student Government heard from Go Off! — an online platform for people to engage in moderated conversations about media — and introduced the COVID-19 University Oversight Committee in its meeting Monday night. StuGov also voted to endorse a “wellness days” initiative.
Go Off! founder Glo Robinson and Go Off! Director of Research and Development Jessica Zheng presented Robinson’s chat-based discussion platform for people to share ideas and hold meaningful conversation about the media without “feeling depressed at the end.”
“We’ve found from doing lots of user testing,” said College of Communication junior Robinson, “that this intervention creates a healthy user experience, authentic conversations and creates a safe environment.”
The platform provides a satisfying form of online contact, Robinson said, and users can talk to each other in real time.
Zheng, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences, said she thinks Go Off! can be an asset for StuGov because it can post potential events or policy changes to the platform to get student input through the chat function.
“Student engagement has been something that Student Government’s always had trouble with,” Zheng said, “which is unfortunate because we are the first line of offense and defense for undergraduate students.”
Senators were asked to contact Go Off! if they are interested in using the platform to facilitate student engagement.
The meeting continued with Sen. Ezra Bale, a senior in COM, who introduced the oversight committee, a group that will serve to audit BU’s response to COVID-19. Bale said the CUOC will listen to faculty and student concerns, investigate their validity and confront the University if necessary to resolve any issues.
“We are not the ‘Karens’ making these demands,” Bale said. “We’re negotiating from a position of peace, and if things aren’t working, we make pushes to help make things work.”
Bale pitched CUOC as a standing committee, but it was passed as an ad hoc committee instead. Standing committees must be present for the entire academic year, according to the StuGov Constitution, but ad hoc committees stand until their specified tasks are complete.
The CUOC was confirmed as an ad hoc committee with 32 votes out of 43 senators present.
StuGov also proposed BU consider implementing “wellness days” by offering nonconsecutive days off during Spring semester to preserve students’ mental health. Sen. Evan Teplensky and Sen. Savannah Majarwitz introduced the initiative in a student petition Monday.
Having StuGov support, CAS junior Majarwitz said, will hopefully encourage the administration to make “definitive decisions” about the request for more rest days in the absence of Spring Recess.
The initiative proposes Feb. 4, March 3, March 25 and April 6 become days off, because students would be less likely to travel on weekdays.
Teplensky, a sophomore in CAS, said he would also like to host events centered around mental well-being to ensure students are being checked in on. The events would take place on the proposed days off.
“This really is for mental health,” Teplensky said. “We need those mental breaks.”
At the time of the meeting, the petition had 760 signatures. By the end of Monday night, it had reached more than 1,000. The initiative passed with 35 votes in the affirmative.
*Go Off! has partnered with The Daily Free Press to host conversations.