An Office in the Division of Mission and Ministry
How was the Montserrat Coalition formed?
In 2008, with the help of Intersections, Marina Pastrana began gathering faculty and administrators to discuss the difficulties and struggles of students at the highest level of financial aid on campus. In the 2008- 2009 academic year, financial aid representatives identified the highest financial need population at Boston College; these students would become Montserrat Students. With the help of the Student Programs Office in Student Affairs and the Financial Aid Office, we began to provide free entrance to a limited amount of social events on campus. In 2009-2010, the name Montserrat Coalition was selected and active outreach was initiated to Montserrat students. In 2010-2011, the Montserrat Coalition was officially institutionalized and Marina Pastrana was hired as the Program Administrator. In its first official year, Montserrat reached out to 1,300 students, distributing over 800 free tickets to dances, concerts, movie premiers, cultural events, and theater productions. Additionally, students have been assisted by Coalition members for EMT courses, retreats, service programs, independent study, and international research. The Montserrat Coalition continues to grow and work to build a more just and welcoming community for students of all economic backgrounds at Boston College.
How are students selected?
Students are designated by the Office of Financial Aid in Student Services. These students qualify based on federal and institutional guidelines of financial need.
How does the program work?
Once students are designated by the Office of Financial Aid as Montserrat eligible, they are contacted by the Program Administrator, Marina Pastrana, or the current Graduate Assistant. Students are informed of the areas of support, potential services, and free tickets provided by Montserrat via e-mail. Students must pick up tickets in person from the Montserrat office and meet with Marina Pastrana or the Graduate Assistant to receive any specific resource. Once the student comes into the office they are encouraged to think about other areas of the university with which they need assistance or support. One of the main objectives of the program is to ensure that students are experiencing and participating in life at Boston College. All students are encouraged to explore the BC motto of "cura personalis," the development of the whole person. Montserrat believes in providing students with access to explore the "social, spiritual, and intellectual" areas of the university as well as support to face the perceived and real barriers with which the financially strained Montserrat students encounter.
Montserrat provides a safe and confidential environment for students to express their struggles, find a supportive community, and an easy access to a network of BC administrators who understand their specific needs.