Campus, News

OneBU Spring agenda plans to keep students engaged, provide more social opportunities

Student Government plans to feature student talent, create opportunities for people to socialize safely on campus and increase involvement within the BU community during the Spring 2021 semester. COURTESY OF DAVID HAETTY

Student Government’s Spring semester goals will look similar to the Fall, but will focus more on showcasing student talent, keeping engagement levels up and bringing the Boston University community together, according to StuGov representatives.

Nyah Jordan, StuGov vice-president of internal affairs and junior in the College of Communication, said OneBU is hoping to include more hybrid events this semester and work with the Metcalf Trustee Center and the Howard Thurman Center to provide COVID-19-safe venues.

“We’re hoping to showcase students and all of their talents to work together to show how great BU is,” Jordan said, “and bring everybody together.”

This Spring, she added, StuGov plans on providing students opportunities to better interact with one another in the safest ways possible.

“It’s about bringing events like that back to campus,” she said, “and giving the opportunities to students where they can go to things, they can leave their dorms and they can have that community that we once had.”

Some students, however, are still unsure of whether hybrid events are safe enough to attend, but are hopeful for them in the future.

Lily Russo, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences, said she thinks it’s a good idea to focus on virtual events for now.

“Before there’s mass vaccination,” Russo said, “I don’t really think there’s a way to do things 100 percent safely.”

College of General Studies freshman Stephanie Michael said she and other students are more likely to attend events once the vaccination is more widely distributed.

“As time goes on, and there’s more vaccinations and it gets warmer out,” Michael said, “I think me and a lot of other people are going to feel more comfortable, in general, going to stuff like that.”

StuGov President Oliver Pour, a junior in COM, said OneBU wants to increase involvement among the Class of 2024 and transfer students, both of whom he said haven’t had a lot of time to engage with the BU community.

“Our goal is to hopefully get people more involved within these student organizations,” Pour said, “and to get them more involved in student government as a whole.”

Recruitment for this semester’s student government just began, which Pour said he thinks is one way freshmen and transfers can be more active in the campus community.

“We hope that students will be able to fill out this application,” Pour said, “and then from there, we as a team will be able to figure out where their passions lie, and how we can further that.”

Jordan said she is currently working on a new health blog for students to share how they’re staying safe but still having fun. The blog will also serve as a mental health resource for students.

“We’re hoping for this to be a very interactive process [where] our students can share advice,” Jordan said, “especially during COVID where we can’t go as many places.”

Elections for the new student government will take place this semester and begin March 1.

“I’m extremely excited to see the types of initiatives that future e-board candidates have put together,” Pour said.

Advocacy Representative for CAS Student Government Shahaf Dan, a junior in CAS, said StuGov is seeking students who can work with their peers and the University.

“We’re just looking for students who are passionate about a certain area or everything in general,” Dan said. “It is important that we get people who are good at communicating with the student body while maintaining good connections with administration.”

StuGov faced a few challenges last semester because of COVID-19, Jordan said, but these setbacks in the Fall have helped them better plan for the Spring. She said they will be focusing more on the events themselves after having low attendance last semester.

“I think we really want to focus on execution because so many students have a lot of great ideas,” Jordan said, “so we want to make sure that we’re trying to reach as far as possible for the student body.”

However, last semester’s successful events — such as the “Hasan Saves Halloween” collaboration with F— It Won’t Cut It — helped StuGov understand what keeps the student body engaged, Pour said. One possibility, he added, was bringing in more guest speakers and celebrities.

“I think the biggest challenge is obviously, how do you engage the students?” he said. “How do you excite them about events and about different initiatives?”

Russo said she considers diversity, sexual assault awareness and mental health resources three priority topics student government should be focusing on this semester.

“I know for a lot, college is a pretty hard transition … so I guess just making things more accessible and more public,” Russo said. “Resources for diversity and victims of assault, I think those should be taken care of before focusing efforts elsewhere.”

Pour said he is hopeful this semester will go smoothly despite the obstacles COVID-19 poses.

“It’s obviously a very different year with COVID, but that doesn’t mean it’s a negative year,” Pour said. “We got to reflect on what worked last semester, what didn’t, and now we just need to execute another great semester.”

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