Analyzing trimesters: Student groups fear leadership issues

While administrators are analyzing how a mandatory summer session would impact academics at GW, student organization leaders are considering how their groups would function over the summer.

GW has been exploring ways to improve academic life and the utilization of campus facilities since last spring, when a committee formed to research a proposal for a mandatory summer session for rising juniors. However, some student organization leaders are questioning the proposal’s ramifications on their groups.

The Student Association’s Academic Affairs committee is investigating the effects of a mandatory summer and a four-by-four credit system, and the group will submit a statement to the administration by Nov. 1.

“The (proposal) has a broad effect on student organizations – leadership among these groups, how will presidents turn over, especially if one’s not going to be there during a semester,” said Drew Sindlinger, SA vice president for academic affairs.

The SA will hold a town hall meeting Tuesday night to discuss the calendar proposal.

He said a summer session could benefit student leadership by allowing more people to hold office during the year.

“Yes, it does give students a chance to get involved in leadership positions, but we don’t know exactly how it will work yet,” Sindlinger said.

The Program Board, which brings concerts and other activities to campus, would most likely need to be in operation during the summer. Although PB officers said they do not know specifically how the group would run during the summer, officers said holding events year-round will significantly increase spending.

PB Executive Chair Jon Reiling said the Program Board would need to increase its budget 10 to 20 percent if students were on campus during the summer. The University currently gives PB $200,000 to run programs.

Religious-affiliated organizations are also concerned about the increased financial obligations that year-round school would require. Executive Director of Hillel Simon Amiel said Hillel will need more funding if students are mandated to attend GW during the summer. He said Hillel would need to increase its budget by at least a third to continue normal programming.

Robert Chernak, senior vice president for Student and Academic Support Services said the University is “far away” from the possibility of changing the calendar system, so assumptions of future GW summer experiences are “hypothetical.”

“Everyone needs to do a lot more fact finding and a thorough financial analysis,” Chernak said.

Chernak said students should be “open-minded” about the proposal because it could benefit students. He said the University could bring more activities to campus and expand existing summer events.
Andrea Nurko contributed to this report.

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