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 SGA president, Austin Bergeron, standing in front of the new mural in the Student Lounge.

Student Spotlight: Austin Bergeron, Premed/PA

  • As students streamed onto the MCPHS Boston campus to begin a new semester, they were greeted by a cheerful new addition to the Student Lounge on the first floor. The Student Government Association (SGA) had just unveiled a brand-new mural showcasing the University’s other campus: the city of Boston.

    The inspiration for the mural came to Austin Bergeron, Premedical and Health Studies (PA), two years ago. He was serving as an Orientation leader and was assigned the task of decorating the Student Lounge to look like Fenway Park. As soon as the decorations came down, a thought occurred to him. “The room just didn’t feel as vibrant as it had during Orientation,” he said.

    Bergeron realized he could bring a little Boston magic to students on campus – all year round.

    As SGA president, Bergeron was in the perfect position to collaborate to make the change. He worked closely with University leadership, including other student leaders, to develop a concept with a professional graphic designer.

    The end result? “The mural showcases different landmarks of Boston – including the Red Sox, the Citgo sign, the Zakim Bridge, and the Boston Common,” said Bergeron. “The mural truly integrates the city of Boston as part of our campus. It adds a story to the Boston campus.”

    Bergeron’s classmates appreciated the addition to the lounge. “On my first day back on campus this spring, students kept coming up to me to thank Student Government for the mural,” said Bergeron. “They said it made them feel that the lounge is now a place where they can kick back and relax.”

    For Bergeron, who is highly involved in campus life, this type of collaboration is exactly the kind of action he lives for.

    In our interview, Bergeron gives us insight into being a student leader and shares a sneak peek of more student-centered changes planned for the Student Lounge.

    What does it mean to you to be a student leader on campus?

    Being a student leader on campus comes with a great deal of responsibility. As someone who has been a student leader since the beginning of high school, I have lived by two rules. One, leadership is not a position or a title; it’s about action and setting an example. Two, being a student leader is not about having power; it’s about creating an atmosphere that is comfortable so that all can lead. It is more important when organizing an event or accomplishing a large project that all feel included and that it’s not one person leading the pack. There are loud leaders and silent leaders, leaders who hit the ground running and leaders who observe and speak when they feel the time is right.

    What was it like to transition to being a student leader in a university setting?

    At first, I thought it would be difficult becoming a student leader in college because I came from a small all-boys Catholic high school in Rhode Island, which made it easy to be involved. But when I stepped on campus during Orientation at MCPHS, I saw how easy it would be to continue my leadership career. I have been able to gain leadership experience through many different lenses at MCPHS – as a Brain Cell, as an Orientation leader, and now as SGA president.

    Tell us about SGA. How does it work?

    This past year, we split SGA into two groups: the Assembly of Clubs and Professional Organizations (ACPO) and the Student Government Association (SGA). This split has allowed SGA to shift our focus to the student body and their concerns, rather than mainly focusing on the clubs and professional organizations on campus.

    We also recently created the motto, “Your school, your choice: be the voice.” This showcases to members of the student body that they have a voice on campus and that they can come to us and share their ideas. We are the liaison between the students and administration, so any ideas or concerns brought to the SGA e-board are directly brought to MCPHS University administration.

    What are some of your responsibilities as SGA president?

    My responsibilities as SGA president include overseeing the SGA e-board as a whole and aiding them when needed; holding school-wide General Assembly meetings; and having regular meetings with the administration, including the president, the provost, the dean of student affairs, and others on a day-to-day basis.

    What upcoming SGA initiative are you most excited about? Tell us about it.

    The project I am most excited about is the Student Lounge renovation. As of right now, new flooring, a Rubi coffee and espresso vending machine, and a microwave area have been added to this space – in addition to our brand-new Boston mural. By the end of Spring Semester, we will see new furniture, a new printing area, and a whole new atmosphere for students to relax in on campus.

    When should students get involved with campus life?

    I recommend that students get involved on campus as freshmen. It is a great way to meet people and a great way to feel part of the campus. If you want change on campus, be the change. I started as a Brain Cell and first-year class representative. One could say that is a lot for a freshman to handle, but it allowed me to learn how to manage my time and was a very easy way to make friends.

    What’s your advice for students looking to get more involved?

    If you want to get involved but are scared of public speaking or leading in large groups or have no leadership experience, that’s OK. There are many different types of leaders on campus, ranging from silent to loud. You don’t have to be the person who speaks in front of large groups if you are not comfortable with that, but I do say push yourself out of your comfort zone a bit and apply for leadership roles on campus, such as with the Center for Academic Success and Enrichment, the Campus Activities Board, ACPO, or SGA, or as an Intercultural Student Ambassador, an Orientation leader, or a Brain Cell.

    Ready to dive into campus life at MCPHS–Boston? Find out more about our student life, including clubs and organizations on campus.