Doctors may no longer make house calls, but members of Boston College’s faculty and administration do, with the advent this semester of a freshman outreach program by that moniker.
Last Thursday evening, nearly 80 “House Calls” volunteers from across the University fanned out for a meet-and-greet in the freshman residence halls on Upper and Newton campuses.
“As a Jesuit, Catholic university we are called to welcome members of our community and ‘House Calls’ is one way to do this,” said Associate Vice President and Dean of Students Thomas Mogan.
The initiative was developed to connect with freshmen early in their initial semester, underscore that Boston College is a caring community, and introduce them to members of the BC community they might not otherwise meet, administrators say.
“The opportunity for Dorrie [Siqueiros, Office of Residential Life associate director] and me to visit with our first-year students was wonderful,” said Director of Athletics Brad Bates.
“Meeting the students validated my already high regard for the quality of our undergraduates and gave insight into their intellectual, service, extracurricular, and social experiences during their first month at Boston College. It was especially meaningful to hear the students express their great appreciation for the way BC has welcomed them into the Eagle family,” he added.
“House Calls” organizers hope that, after these encounters, new students will feel free to turn to program participants with questions—about campus services and resources, for example—or concerns. It is part of a larger Office of the Dean of Students (DOS) effort to increase student outreach.
“A goal is to stress upon students that the Office of the Dean of Students is not simply the place students go when they get into trouble,” Mogan said. “Our office sponsors many valuable programs and services that provide support for students and we want to make sure they are aware of this.”
At a dinner for volunteers preceding the visits, Mogan and DOS Senior Associate Dean of Students Carole Hughes shared and discussed both the goals of the program and potential issues or concerns that might arise.
But they also emphasized that participants should be themselves and have fun with the program, which also links BC faculty and staff members.
“Students quickly engaged with us. We talked about classes, the college experience, upcoming exams, and Parents’ Weekend,” said Environmental Health and Safety Director Gail Hall, who visited Claver and Loyola halls with Ines Maturana Sendoya, director of the Thea Bowman AHANA and Intercultural Center.
“One of our questions to them,” Hall noted, “was about positive experiences at BC, and the responses were pretty uniform—good classes, meeting new people, and the variety of extra-curricular activities.”
Eight freshmen who shared a birthday on Sept. 24 were presented with cakes by their respective volunteers.
Initiated by the Office of the Dean of Students, the Office for Residential Life was involved in the development and implementation of the program. A committee, chaired by Hughes, includes Kerry Marino, DOS administrative assistant, and from the Office of Residential Life, Resident Director Peter Hausladen and Area Coordinator Katie Corey DiLeo. Later this month, freshmen commuters will be invited to a special House Calls luncheon program.
Reprinted from the October 1, 2015 The Boston College Chronicle with permission from the Office of News & Public Affairs