Diversity and Inclusion are centerpieces for Boston College Athletics, as they describe themselves as “one family” that focuses on “Unity, Support, Education, and Outreach.” BC Athletics works with the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee to make sure that all Eagle athletes have a voice that is heard and have a detailed Diversity and Inclusion plan, which can be viewed here. Their website page for Diversity and Inclusion can be found here.
“Eagles for Equality” was designed to “build a more inclusive environment for all marginalized student-athletes, and to improve their experience.” This is based on the aforementioned pillars of Unity, Support, Education, and Outreach. To lead this initiative, BC Athletics helped to create a Student-Athlete Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Student-Athlete Committee to help create more open dialogue on issues and form a support network for all student-athletes at Boston College. For more on Eagles for Equality to see social media content related to the initiative, click here.
At BC, student-athletes who are facing discrimination or want to talk about related issues have access to the Safe Space Program. This offers a safe place for all Eagle athletes to express themselves in regard to discrimination, with appropriate resources to help them as needed.
Student-Athletes at BC are well supported thanks to the Devlin Student-Athlete Development Program. This program not only helps foster student-athlete service opportunities, but also helps Eagle athletes develop personally, academically, and socially. Student-athletes receive opportunities to network, get internships, enhance their résumés, and work with mentors through the Devlin Student-Athlete Development Program. Community Engagement is also a critical arm of this work, and BC athletes often participate in summer immersion trips, visits to local shelters, hospitals, schools, and food pantries. Student-athletes can also participate in a pen pal program, team impact, Adopt-A-Child, and Cycle for Survival. Furthermore, personal development through wellness screenings and trainings, NIL education sessions, leadership councils, and finance management education help prepare Eagles for the world post-graduation. Lastly, student-athletes are encouraged to share their beliefs as a part of this program via town halls, social media campaigns, and athlete viewpoint sharing opportunities.
Boston College student-athletes are not only offered premiere physical care, but they have access to sports counseling as well. Eagle athletes can sign up for appointments with trained mental health professionals and also refer others through a confidential online form. The website page dedicated to BC student-athlete counseling also includes a list of signs and symptoms to look out for that could reveal that someone is struggling mentally and a “How to Respond” section to help teach people what to do if someone reveals that they’re going through a challenging time mentally.
The Flynn Fund serves Boston College’s student-athletes by providing them with scholarships so that they can attend BC and play their sport(s) without having to worry about putting a strain on their family’s own resources. It follows the Jesuit idea of “cura personalis, or care for the whole person,” according to their bio. People who donate to the Flynn Fund and help support student-athletes get special perks, including correspondence from Eagle athletes, access to better seats and parking spots for sporting events, post-season and away game ticket priority, and invitations to special BC athletic events.
Donations to the Flynn Fund are used to support a variety of athletic costs along with scholarships, such as equipment, recruiting, and travel. For example, the BC Women’s Basketball team recently was able to compete in Italy because of generous donations to the Flynn Fund.
Fans can donate in a few different ways. Money can be sent to the scholar-athletes arm of the Flynn Fund, which helps to support the over 700 Eagle athletes each year. A $25,000 donation is equivalent to giving a student-athlete a full-year scholarship. Donors can also choose to assist using endowments for longer commitments. Capital projects are financed by donations to the Flynn Fund as well. Currently, BC is working to upgrade the Barry Gallup ’69 Sports Medicine Center and the Hoag Basketball Pavilion as part of their capital projects. Lastly, restricted gifts allow money to be sent directly to a specific team, and the coach chooses how it is spent. All donations are designed to improve the lives and resources available to the student-athletes.
Furthermore, Boston College launched its “Greater Heights” campaign in 2018. The first-ever strategic athletics campaign in BC history, the campaign was created with the goal of raising $150 million in mind to assist 31 varsity sports teams at the school. The campaign has three central priorities: “Competitive Excellence,” “Facility Enhancements,” and “Student-Athlete Formation.” Competitive Excellence has ties to the Flynn Fund and the Excellence Fund, which takes donated money and gives it to the BC Athletic Department for allocation where they best see fit. It also encourages sport-specific donations, which Boston College has expanded through the use of the “#supportyoursport” hashtag. For Facility Enhancements, current donations are going towards revamping the Conte Forum and Powers Gym for men’s and women’s basketball, the Pete Frates Center, which will serve as a training hub for baseball and softball players, and the 244,000-square-foot Connell Recreation Center, among other smaller facility enhancements. Lastly, Student-Athlete Formation allows donors to help fund the Office of Student-Athlete Academic Support, student-athlete health and wellness, and scholarships for student-athletes. For more on the Greater Heights campaign and to read impact stories written by the student-athletes, click here.