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ISSUE 117 VOL 4 PUBLISHED 10/10/2003

Thursday meetings encourage opinions

By Jennifer Hancock
Online Editor
and Brenna Greenfield
Staff Writer

Friday, October 10, 2003

Community Time, the new phenomenon that began Fall 2002, is a source of confusion for most students on campus. There is a general impression that faculty meetings are happening somewhere, but what is there for students to do other than grab their lunch and squeeze in a little bit of studying?

Unlike the usual daily chapel break, there seems to be no advertised activity to participate in during the extra 70 minutes from 11:30 P.M. to 12:40 P.M. every Thursday. Granted, there is nothing wrong with having free time, and it hasn’t been a hard thing to adjust to. For something that warrants its own box in the schedule in the back of the student planners, however, shouldn’t there be some reason for its existence?

Students in search of something to do during Community Time need look no further than the Pause. The recently-launched student body meetings held there offer students a chance to learn what is going on around campus and voice concerns or opinions they might have.

SGA sponsors these meetings, and president Christie Larson ‘04 says they are all about "making sure students are getting what they want and need."

Meetings will be held once a month throughout the school year. The meetings have a discussion format with questions, answers and information bouncing back and forth between the SGA executive board and the student body attendees.

Larson hopes that "with this set time every month, hopefully students will know of some set place they can go and be heard."

The first meeting on Oct. 2 was well advertised. There were large posters in Buntrock Commons and flyers in the cafeteria promoting the opportunity for students to share their concerns with the governing body on campus.

Notwithstanding the good PR, only a handful of people were in attendance for the first meeting, and all but one of them were members of SGA. The one student who came happened to be walking by the Pause and wandered in to see what was going on. He had the full attention of the executive board, however, and their relief at having one attendee made them eager listeners.

With the low attendance numbers, a small group of dedicated students could potentially have a large influence on what is happening around campus, simply by coming to events like this and letting their voices be heard.

The first meeting was intended as "an open time for discussion about issues students may be concerned about," but the small turnout calls into question how many concerns the student body really has.

It may be that students are generally happy with the way things are on campus, and do not feel a need to get involved. More likely, people did not know about the meeting, or didn’t feel it was worth their time. However, with campus finances–something that affects everyone–on the agenda next month, Larson urges attendance.

She said, "Being an active member of the campus community is always a good reason for attending. Also, it’s good to be informed about aspects of student life because it directly affects you and if you want to change things, here is a starting point..."

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