GW students will have the opportunity Tuesday evening to ask questions of the University’s top officials at a town hall meeting in the School of Media of Public Affairs building. While such forums occurred last semester with representatives of the administration and dealt with handling the numerous controversies that plagued campus, this week’s meeting will hopefully provide a chance to tackle ongoing student concerns.
As the new semester begins, students must embrace this opportunity to shape the goals and question the path of the University. While many hoped such a conversation with new University President Steven Knapp would happen earlier in his term, students should take advantage of the opportunity now. The effectiveness of such a project, bringing together students and top administrators, is correlated to the involvement and feedback of students.
Board of Trustees Chairman W. Russell Ramsey, Board of Trustees Vice Chairman Nelson A. Carbonell Jr. and Student Association President Nicole Capp will join Knapp in hosting the event, providing the appropriate resources to address a wide range of student concerns. This page, looking not only at issues of the last semester but also trends of the past years, believes the following issues warrant significant discussion between students and administrators.
Dining frustrations have continued to increase, especially following the implementation of the J Street mandatory spending requirement for freshmen and sophomores. Over the past years, high turnovers and general student dissatisfaction have plagued both the University and its food service partners. It is time to foster cooperation to make a working solution, especially utilizing the SA as a mediator between students and administrators. The SA has already made clear their commitment to improving dining and has a solid track record of accomplishing their stated goals but this speech is futile without change.
Student services and the jumble of red-tape warrant an evaluation from the University. Two central issues exemplify such frustration: study abroad and the advising system. With GW’s expanding presence across the globe in study abroad programs, it is necessary that our own study abroad office is up to par. According to the office’s Web site, there are only two advisers who handle an increasing number of students going abroad. Additionally, endeavors such as Colonial Central bring valuable financial resources together in one location, yet fail to address everyday student needs. A fair share of students do not utilize such services on a daily basis, leading back to the question of student spaces on campus being managed effectively. The first part of tackling this problem is for students to redirect their complaints to the parties represented at the forum.
Academic advising is both a central student and academic service that must be strengthened and streamlined for today’s students and the next generation of Colonials. Advising for cornerstone programs of the University that attract countless students, such as political science, must be functional and well-informed. Reforming the current advising situation will strengthen not only an individual students’ experience but also help in decreasing the bureaucracy and miscommunication for which GW is notorious.
This sampling of issues provides a foundation that should continue to grow between further communication between students and administrators. This conversation represents the opportunity for positive, visible changes to the central elements that will become the face of GW’s future.