Every weekday, The Daily Free Press publishes stories that matter to the students of Boston University. Here are some of the stories the FreeP has been covering throughout the past year and will continue to cover for the upcoming 2019-2020 school year.
DivestBU is a group on campus calling for the university to fully divest from the fossil fuel industry. The group has been present on campus for seven years and while in 2016 BU committed to avoid investing in companies that extract coal and tar sands, DivestBU is still pushing for their end goal. Their latest proposal was endorsed by the BU Student Government Senate.
Fossil fuels are not the only industry BU students are paying attention to. BU Prison Divest, a new student organization calling for BU to divest from the private prison system, was formed in April. The group argues that BU should not be using financial services from the Vanguard Group and JP Morgan Chase, both of which own shares in GeoGroup and CoreCivic, the two largest private prison companies in the U.S.
The streets of West Campus have been lined with orange traffic cones for the past few semesters, with renovations of the buildings and roads set to continue over the summer. In February, The Daily Free Press reported the road construction — done through MassDOT — was scheduled to be completed in June. The construction is still underway.
West Campus will get a break from all the cones next semester, but multiple new construction projects are just getting started in East Campus. Last fall, BU announced plans for a new Data Science Center across the street from Warren Towers and the College of Communication. The design got a mixed reception from students, but preliminary work has already began on what will be the tallest academic building on campus upon its completion.
This past spring, the university began drilling test wells in what is currently a BU-owned parking lot in order to determine if the plot is viable for geothermal heating and cooling for the Data Science Center. The project is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2022.
Kenmore Square will also soon undergo construction as buildings previously owned by BU are being redeveloped by real estate firm Related Beal. That project is set to begin this year and finish by early 2021.
BU Hub implementation
The past academic year was the first time the new BU Hub program applied to incoming freshmen. The launch received mixed reactions from students and faculty, but the university was confident in its effectiveness.
The Hub required a reworking of many university courses. Some new writing courses included a multimedia component in order to fulfill the Hub requirement of “Digital/Multimedia Expression,” but the university lacked the resources to provide all students with premium equipment for their audio and video projects.
Bulk Mail workers face layoffs
In April, The Daily Free Press reported that BU was set to close its bulk mail department and offer its employees lower-paying custodial jobs. The workers said the university refused to provide them with any reason for closing the department, other than that it was “their right.” The workers argued that they provided a valuable service to the campus community.
Climate Change and BU’s Climate Action Plan
Climate Change is one of the most talked about issues worldwide, and BU’s administration and students are taking steps to address the crisis. BU has begun to implement its Climate Action Plan, its main goal being to make the university carbon-neutral by 2040.
Researchers at BU conduct research on the effects of climate change and how to mitigate them, especially in cities like Boston. The BU Institute for Sustainable Energy worked with the City of Boston’s Green Ribbon Commission to find ways for the city to become carbon-free by 2050. The methods researched include making Boston buildings more energy-efficient and switching to electric transportation methods.
The Daily Free Press keeps students up to date on BU’s Student Government, publishing weekly reports of student government meetings, as well as additional in-depth articles regarding certain issues.