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ISSUE 118 VOL 11 PUBLISHED 2/25/2005

Getting connected

By Executive Editors
Executive Editor

Friday, February 25, 2005

What do conversations on the Hill normaly entail? Sex? Studies? Beer? Sure, but not necessarily in that order. However, this semester there has been a different sort of conversation going on across campus: Students talking … about the news.

Once a rare sight, students are cracking open newspapers, even if only for a few minutes, and reading the day’s headlines. The introduction of the USA Today College Readership Program has accomplished exactly what SGA hoped it would: It is making students more aware of daily happenings – both national and international – and fostering conversation.

We applaud SGA for taking such a proactive approach in bringing meaningful resources to campus.

SGA has given students yet another tool to further their education, which does not need to be confined to the classroom. Part of the collegiate experience is learning to function in the real world; a healthy understanding of current events benefits that aim.

SGA deserves substantial credit for their foresight and drive to serve the student body, but there is more to be done. Namely, SGA needs to pursue implementing cable in individual residence hall rooms.

We acknowledge that the actual installation and funding of the cable access would need to come from Residence Life, but SGA is responsible for representing student interest. If a study concludes what many of us think – that the majority of students want this service and some are willing to pay for it – SGA should make obtaining cable a priority.

Cable would not just benefit that “guy down the hall” who likes to watch European soccer all the time or the “artsy hippie” who is always watching avant-garde cinema and film noir. Rather, it would provide all students the access to timely news and alternative programming without the need to decipher distorted static images or camp out in the lounge early to beat the “must see TV” crowd.

One concern is that the introduction of individual-room cable would hinder student’s academic success. By the same logic, we should cancel the newspaper program because students may spend too much time reading the variety section and unhook Ethernet connections from individual residence hall rooms because students spend too much time shopping on eBay and visiting non-academic websites.

We are all adults capable of making much weightier decisions than whether or not we should watch an hour (or two) of TV.

Even now, in a relatively uneventful news timeframe we are seeing the benefits of increased media exposure. What if the newspaper program had been in place during the heated election season? Imagine if we had access to breaking coverage via cable.

Facilitating the availability of resources that enhance in- and out-of-class education should always be on the minds of administrators and students chosen to represent their classmates. That’s something to think about as St. Olaf enters it own election season.

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