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Around Campus

New Name, Mission The Same

The School of Social Work isn’t the only University entity of late to change its name by putting “Boston College” at the front: Eagle EMS, the student-run, all-volunteer, quick response, emergency medical service founded in 1997, officially announced it will now be called BCEMS.

In an interview with The Heights, BCEMS President Kristen DiBlasi ’15 said the new name and acronym reflects the organization’s evolution, including its increased interaction with area public safety agencies and providers.

“We have much more exposure and we thought the name ‘Boston College EMS’ better clarifies who we are now in 2014,” she said. “It associates us more heavily with the University – I think it represents a higher level of professionalism from the organization. So, ‘Eagle EMS’ sort of sounds like a club, but ‘Boston College EMS’ sounds like an organization.”

BCEMS activities and resources encompass a network of medical services, educational classes and its own emergency response, non-transporting ambulance. It is staffed by more than 100 members and about 20 executive officers and coordinators.

–Office of News & Public Affairs

Red and Blue, Maroon and Gold

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Students talked politics (right) and kept track of the changing electoral landscape at last week’s “Election Night Central” event in Vanderslice Hall. (Photo by Caitlin Cunningham)

While it didn’t have quite the cachet of a presidential contest, as was the case two years ago, the second student-run “Election Night Central” last week once again proved a popular destination for members of the BC community looking to follow election returns – and enjoy some lively, but civil, political discussion as well.

An estimated 150 to 200 people attended the event in the Vanderslice Hall Cabaret Room, where they had the choice of watching election coverage on three bigscreen TVs. As in 2012, organizers positioned each set according to the perceived ideological bent of the network to which it was tuned: MSNBC on the left side of the room, Fox News on the right side, and CNN in the middle. Over the course of the evening, results were scrawled in red or blue on two large maps, one of the US and the other of the Senate.

In an era when many Americans regard partisanship as being at toxic levels, Election Night Central co-organizer and BC Eagle Political Society member Lily Lorbeer ’17 said she and her colleagues – along with EPS, the event sponsors were No Labels, Americans for Informed Democracy, the Undergraduate Government of Boston College and the BC Civic Engagement Initiative – were pleased to see a cross-section of views represented.

“We wanted everyone – Democrat, Republican, Independent, liberal, conservative, etc. – to attend and feel welcome,” said Lorbeer, a Long Beach, Calif., native majoring in political science and communication. “We had people excited for election victories on both sides of the aisle, especially students who campaigned in the Massachusetts governor race or the US Senate race in New Hampshire.”

As a run-up to the 2014 elections, EPS held three open discussions this fall that each focused on a specific topic – ISIS, Russia and the Israel-Palestine conflict – and featured faculty speakers. EPS also co-sponsored a panel the night before Election Day, with Moakley Professor of Political Science Kay Schlozman, O’Neill Professor of American Politics H. Shep Melnick and Carroll School of Management Lecturer Thomas Wesner offering thoughts on potential election outcomes.

Election Night Central, however, was less structured, Lorbeer said. “We wanted to keep the atmosphere informal. People were able to watch the coverage, meet friends, grab a bite, and stay for as long as they wished. A majority of people stayed for the entire time.” While there is considerable pessimism about the level of political discourse nationally, Lorbeer says efforts by EPS and others at promoting nonpartisanship are striking a chord on campus.

“When we started the EPS a few years ago, some meetings were just five to 10 people in a room having a discussion. This year, we’ve had meetings and events with almost 100 people in a classroom, we’ve developed awesome relationships with professors, and we are starting to see a real openness to our club on campus. We’ve had people from all different political backgrounds come to us and want to join the discussion; every meeting we have students stay afterward and say they were so happy to find a club where they can be open and honestly talk about politics.

“EPS still has a lot of work to do, but we can confidently say we have successfully started a movement toward respectful political discussion, civic engagement, and a sense of community across party lines.”

-Sean Smith