New leadership for Student Programs

Chris Toomey/The Watchdog
Chris Toomey/The Watchdog

With the Associated Student Government elections fast approaching, all eyes are on the potential candidates. But the ASG is not the only one making changes this quarter. A number of student programs are looking to replace their leadership including the Black Student Union, El Centro Latino, and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual/Transgender and Queer and Questioning Resource Center.

The BSU provides a community for black students on campus to learn more about their heritage and to give back to the community. Shayla Richardson, the current director of BSU, is transferring out of BC and consequentially stepping down at the end of this year. Dezarae Martin, an active member of BSU, described a qualified candidate to be someone who, in addition to already being a member, has “good grades, [is] well-rounded around school, outgoing, a good person, [and a] hard worker.”

El Centro Latino is a program at BC that aims primarily to provide a community for Latinos on campus. El Centro Latino also works very closely with other Latino organization in the area, does a lot of volunteer work with middle and high school Latino students and regularly attends local and national conferences. Gabriela Gonzalez, the director of El Centro Latino is stepping down because she wants others to have the opportunity, but plans to remain an active member. Gonzalez says a qualified candidate “[doesn’t] have to know everything about El Centro to be a fit candidate…[but] somebody that is passionate, involved, who is aware of the issues that the Latino community faces, and who wants to make a different in [the] community and to give back to those people who were here before. [Someone] who wants to make a change in the Latino community on campus.” They should also have “knowledge of the Latino community [and] be really passionate about it…be involved.” In addition to working with the Latino community on campus, the new director will be responsible for attending conferences and outreach within the community. “They don’t necessarily have to have leadership experience, but they should at least know how a club functions.” Gonzales said that aside from general stress, she loves her job. “You get to know people, you get to challenge yourself every day, you get to learn what your limits are as a student, as a person, as a leader.”

Ali Collucci has been the director of the LBGTQ resource center for the last two years, and under her leadership the program has expanded from 20 members to over 200. As director she is responsible for keeping the room welcoming, running smoothly and always updated with the newest resources. She also goes into classes to discuss the LGBTQ community and how it connects to the subject of the class. She also works in classes for teachers to help them understand how to change their curriculum and classroom to be more understanding and accepting. The center also does a lot of outreach with external organizations. Collucci describes a qualified candidate as “someone who has been in the community before, someone who preferably spends time in the center so they know actually what they’re getting themselves into and somebody who has self-studied in the community… [They should have] patience, endurance and a serious need for change and activism.” Collucci said that although an ally, someone who isn’t a member of the LGBTQ community but supports it, can be a director if they have to have sufficient knowledge and experience within the community in order to successfully run such a giant program. Collucci may be re-running for the position of director, but she advises new candidates to educate themselves on the past, present and what to expect for the future of the community. A qualified candidate should “know about he community; from triggers, to literature, to the meaning of each of the color in the queer rainbow.” A strong leader cannot be afraid of saying no, and should be prepared for a lot of rejection. Collucci cautions the successor that the school has a lot of work to do and it will be the responsibility of the director to see change through. “Be prepared to fight.” Collucci acknowledges the difficulties of her job, saying that there is a lot of stress and pressure. Dealing with the discrimination and narrow-mindedness of others in the community is very difficult at times, and there is not much room to breathe. But she also loves her job, and she says it has taught her so much and she “love[s] the many quirks [the] center has…The immense personality that the center has, it doesn’t matter what room we’re in because [the] members create the space. It’s something really special.” While Collucci encourages those interested to apply for this position, she also stresses the benefits of having any campus job.

The new directors are chosen by a committee assembled by the program. Other than Collucci, who may or may not be rerunning, all of the current directors play a part in the decision-making process. Applications for all positions are currently available at the front desk of Student Programs.