Parlez-vous SGA? SGA column
Over the past few weeks, campus has certainly felt more tense than it has in the past. With recent reductions, students and faculty have been concerned about the future of the College. Assumption’s future should be on everyone’s mind. I know I have talked about the future a lot in these articles. However, in light of the last Student Government Association meeting, I would like to expand on what was brought up from others and myself on SGA.
The issue of enrollment is of serious concern for much of campus, as it should be. In 2008, there were about 2,167 students, and currently we have around 1,934. Some of the drop in enrollment can be attributed to the recent recession, but we have an obligation to look deeper into the root causes of our low enrollment and retention numbers.
In my opinion, as President of the Student Body, the campus’ culture has changed over the past four years. There are two areas in which I have personally seen this.
First, there are restrictions on students. Each year, students feel there are more and more rules and policies that restrict what we can do. This has caused the overlying culture of students feeling restricted. It is hard to pinpoint specific policies that cause this. One that comes to mind is underage students not being allowed to go down to “the Valley” because of the assumption that they will drink.
Second, there has been a strong shift in the implementation of the Mission of the College. There is no question the College is trying to bring the Mission to life for every student. However, I believe the way the President and the Board of Trustees are executing this shift is causing more harm than good. I understand we are a Catholic college. Personally, I embrace that unique characteristic. I was fortunate enough to take advantage of being confirmed here during my freshman year. Therefore, seeing how this new “in your face” approach about our Catholicism is being perceived by students is alarming. More students are resenting the religion, not embracing it. By having Mass in the halls, students feel it is an intrusion of their living space, their homes. I have been able to see this as a Resident Assistant.
I am not advocating for a complete denunciation of religion. I am, however, seeking a change in how it is construed to the student body. I believe students need to be a part of these discussions and not excluded. Our opinions need to not only be heard, but listened to. The only way to change the atmosphere of this campus back to where it used to be is by rigorously reflecting on how we can do better. Assumption has an outstanding student body. By not utilizing the skills of its students, the College is missing out on a big chunk of talent.
Another area I believe needs to be further utilized is the faculty. After reading the article about the meeting discussing the layoffs, it has become clear the faculty on campus do not feel they are being utilized enough in the decision process of the future of our College.
The only way to grow and become a leader in the higher education market is by coming together as a community—from administration to faculty to students. Ronald Reagan used a three legged stool to talk about our country; the same can be used for Assumption. Each category listed above is equally important. However, if one is not utilized, then the stool falls down all together.
I love this College. I have grown not only as a person, but as a leader. I do not want anything more than to see the College succeed in the future. However, currently, I am concerned. I am concerned about the community I have always said I love. In recent weeks, I have not seen a community on Campus, expect for the student community. The student community has really come together and showed a sense of strength with everything going on.
I encourage all of the students who are passionate about these issues to please run in the upcoming SGA elections. The only way to make this campus better is by getting involved and fighting for it. We all need to take action and make this the campus what we want it to be.