It is a pretty rare occasion when I get to vent all my frustrations with this school so I was pretty excited to do this project. I was amazingly blessed to have two wonderful teammates (Lauren & Rebecca) who seemed equally as enthusiastic to look into the root of these issues. We really wanted to look at a big topic as a way of helping a lot of smaller issues on campus (ie parking). So when we finished brainstorming ideas about what sucked at this school, a lot of it came down to having just too many students. We were frustrated about lack of resources, huge class size, cuts to certain programs, and lack of accessibility. A main thing we all agreed on was not that we wanted fewer students, or increased tuition, but we were hoping to hold schools accountable for this practice and pressure the government into bringing change. As I see it, this issue stems from the fact that students are really just basic income units (a term actually used by the Board of Governors – the highest decision making body at this school) for the school rather than students requiring resources, support and accessible spaces. While this may seem like a cynical viewpoint I don’t think it is unwarranted.
I sat on two boards this year; the CSA (Central Student Association) board and the UC (University Center) board. The CSA, as one would expect is a board made up entirely of students, while the UC board consists of undergrads, grad students, alumni and senior administration. This was my second year on the CSA and my first year with the UC board. Having expirenced the CSA board the year before I knew what to expect; some long gruling nights (sometimes literally bleeding into morning) and a lot of passionate people arguing about a lot of ridiculous things. To be honest, as much as I hate these meetings I do appreciate the passion that people bring to the table – whether I agree with them or not. The UC board was a totally different story. In a room full of adults (all of whom were actually paid to be there) only two-three ever really had anything to say. The meetings are fast and no-nonsense and if we go past 8pm, people start to get antsy. While I don’t have previous experience to compare this to, I was extremely disheartened by the lack of engagement at these meetings. All these years I had been told that the school administration was working hard for students and only had their interests in mind, it was hard too see all these people simply not giving a fuck.
Overall with this project we wanted to make people aware of the problem and aware of what they could do. We wanted to do a website with as much info on it as possible – maybe even an live counter that kept up to date info on enrollment, spending and budget priorities. We also wanted to connect with students and hear there stories and encourage people to open up a dialogue on the subject.