Letter to the editor: Bettering the UVM community
Published: Thursday, March 22, 2012
Updated: Thursday, March 22, 2012 16:03
Most students know about UVM’s new president, E. Thomas Sullivan. The Cynic itself broke the story before the formal announcement several weeks ago. But the selection of Sullivan should not overshadow, and instead highlight, the fact that this is an important time for the University.
New programs are starting, UVM is getting more national recognition than ever, and the way UVM interacts with students is beginning to change.
Many students may not care about new initiatives from the UVM administration and probably don’t pay attention to what happens in our Student Government Association — we just receive emails — MANY emails.
What students instead care about are their academics, having fun while at UVM, contributing back to Vermont and the world and ensuring that their money is going right back to helping them succeed.
There’s also another presidential search happening right now, but at the student level. Several students are running for president of SGA to represent all 10,000 of us UVMers, and I happen to be one of them.
My name is Connor Daley, and I know most students don’t actually participate in SGA elections. But even if you don’t care about SGA, you probably care about UVM.
I’m running because I love Burlington, I love Vermont — I’m from the other side of the state — I love the people here, and I love UVM. But there are a lot of things that could be made better.
I think SGA and the UVM administration should do a better job at communicating with students. SGA uses videos in weekly emails so students can get the information they need quickly without reading a lengthy message.
But what about an SGA Newsletter — a one-page update — next to the stacks of The Cynic and the Watertower, telling students what’s going on in SGA and UVM administration?
What about an open-question forum for students in the Marketplace, the Marche, or the Davis Center green with the presidents of UVM and SGA?
Student Government passes a lot of “resolutions” that are meant to be as the “student voice,” but how often do we consult students about these things?
I think we should engage students more, but also move away from passing “resolutions.”
We don’t need to make big political statements for or against something in the world. Let’s instead work on what students care about most at UVM.
The success of Inclusive Language Week, co-sponsored by Free2Be and the Greek Life community, argues that when different student groups on campus collaborate, awesome things can happen.
So why doesn’t the president of SGA have a ‘cabinet’ with representatives from Greek Life, Campus Media, the largest clubs, the Inter-Residence Association, and people in charge of UVM strengths — sustainability, academics, diversity —to have SGA collaborate with more students?
I think UVM students should also be able to explore more of Vermont, my home, at a low cost and a benefit to them.
Why doesn’t SGA listen to student voice more, and provide more money to the Ski and Snowboard Club, providing more buses to the ski mountains in the winter?
Why don’t we have more internships for students at Vermont businesses? I can think of at least 12 off the top of my head who would love to hire UVM students in the summer.
A quarter of UVM students are graduating this year, and that means that they might not be too worried what’s going on in SGA or even UVM administration. But what happens at UVM will affect how employers see Catamounts’ degrees after they graduate and leave.
The students who will compose next year’s student body are also probably wondering how they can get the most out of college and be successful afterwards.
I think student government should provide students with opportunities to have fun and get an awesome education.