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Around Campus

Water All Around

Students living on Upper and Newton campuses and College Road returned from semester break to find a new addition to their residence halls: fixtures that provide filtered water for refillable water bottles.

It’s all part of Boston College’s conservation efforts, according to Sustainability Program Director Robert Pion, who says the project is intended to reinforce the University’s various “green” initiatives. “Reducing the use of plastic bottles, and encouraging people to switch to refillable water bottles, is a significant component in the University’s sustainability campaign.”

The 80 fixtures were installed in residence hall common bathrooms during the break, a project managed by Plumbing Foreman Ken Howland and performed by Metro West Mechanical. Facilities Services Associate Vice President Martin Dugal and Facilities Management Vice President Daniel Bourque were instrumental in supporting the implementation of this measure, in response to students’ requests through the Residence Hall Association, Eco Reps and Eco Pledge for more water bottle filling stations on campus. Water bottle filling units can also be found in campus dining halls, Gasson Hall, the Flynn Recreation Complex and O’Neill Library, among other locations.  

Pion noted that Facilities Management plans to include a water bottle-filling fixture when replacing campus water fountains.

For more on sustainability and conservation at BC, see

–Office of News & Public Affairs

The Popular View

The School of Theology and Ministry online course “The Birth of Jesus” passed a major milestone as 2015 began. According to STM statistics, the course has now been viewed more than 100,000 times – 104,000 as of Jan. 7, about a month past the eighth anniversary of its launching; from 2013-14 alone, more than 32,000 viewers logged in to watch.

“The Birth of Jesus” is a self-paced tutorial written and narrated by Philip A. Cunningham, former executive director of the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College, and is a collaborative project of CJL and Church in the 21st Century Online, a program of STM. It explores how the Catholic tradition and recent biblical scholarship understand the origins of the Gospels and their proper interpretation, and features commentaries on the infancy narratives in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.

Visitors from the US, Philippines, Australia, Canada and UK accounted for 89 percent of those viewing “The Birth of Jesus.”  

Figures for other mini-courses during the past year showed that there were 5,743 viewings for the Spanish language version of “The Death of Jesus” (“Le Muerte de Jesus”) compared to 2,891 for the English version. “Touchstones of Preaching,” which drew 1,462 viewings, had the highest percentage of returning visitors: 34.

The STM/C21 Online mini-courses are offered free of charge. For more information, see

–Office of News & Public Affairs

A Day to Celebrate Research

Graduate student Kelly Bennion discusses her project with Assoc. Prof. of the Practice Robert Wolff (Biology) , director of BC’s pre-med program, at last month’s Advancing Research and Scholarship event (Photos by Lee Pellegrini)

Boston College held its first Advancing Research and Scholarship event, “Global Public Health: Policy, Disparity, Disease,” on Dec. 11 in the Murray Function Room of the Yawkey Center, an opportunity to showcase campus research initiatives as well as broader trends in policy, wellness and health care and threats posed by diseases around the world.

The event, which included a keynote speech by Mount Sinai School of Medicine Professor Philip J. Landrigan, MD, ’63, featured panel discussions with BC faculty members and the presentation of awards for student research by undergraduate and graduate students. Forty-nine students were asked to submit an abstract for their research, and a committee of BC faculty members chose 26 to present posters for the Advancing Research and Scholarship event. A group of six judges scored the posters and convened to determine the undergraduate and graduate winners.

The winners were senior Chantal Barksdale for “Stimulating the Resolution of Tumor Debris to Control Medulloblastoma” and graduate student Mehmet Cansoy for “Maternal Mortality, Democratization, Women’s Status and Ethnic Fractionalization: A Cross-National Study.”

“I think this event exceeded the expectations we had for it,” said Vice Provost for Research and Academic Planning Thomas Chiles, the DeLuca Professor in Biology. “We hoped it would raise awareness of the research and scholarship at BC among faculty and students. But we also want to spread the awareness to the wider University community, and we were able to do that, too: Some trustees were there, and they expressed great admiration for the work being done here.

“The speakers also were of high quality, and made a great impression – particularly on Philip Landrigan. 

“So with this initial success in hand, we’re already starting to think about next year. In the meantime, we hope to see collaborations and discussions inspired by this event, bringing together faculty and students and starting dialogues across campus.”

–Office of News & Public Affairs