Melissa Miller: Make Student Association initiatives worthwhile

This year, Student Association President Ashwin Narla has decided to focus his attention on several projects, like expanding student space and lowering cumbersome fees.

Most of the items on the agenda are noteworthy, but there is one that seems a little bit out of place. For the past several years, the SA has proposed creating an online calendar that would centralize campus events. It is an item which never seems to catch its stride – and that’s because it is not as important as other issues. It is a weak bullet point on an otherwise strong agenda.

There are better ways for the SA to spend its time and effort.

Besides, the University already sends GWeekly email blasts, chronicling student organizations’ events on a week-to-week basis.

So far this year, Narla has had some success with other lobbying efforts.

Following repeated calls for increased student space, the University agreed last week to lower fees for students and extend the hours in Funger and Duques halls until 2 a.m. so students have space to study well into the night.

And while increasing space on campus has been a big issue for the community, a student organization calendar is not high on anybody’s list. This just should not be something the SA is still devoting time toward.

These kinds of initiatives – which seem out of touch with the practical needs of students – are why so many feel apathetic toward the SA. The SA should focus on initiatives that affect the average student and can help rally their support.

Admittedly, many universities, like Princeton, Yale and Brown, already have similar calendars. But at a time when student organizations find themselves with less funding than they had last year, should we really be focusing on something so unimportant?

In the meantime, Narla and his team should look to improve J Street, find ways to make the Marvin Center more student friendly and increase school spirit.

There are more pressing issues at hand than a calendar. Students can live without it.

Melissa Miller is a sophomore majoring in international affairs.

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