Despite the fact that UR is a close-knit community, there is still a gap in the interaction between those creating school policies and those affected by them. In the case of the Students’ Association, its critical operations often seem to be behind closed doors. An excellent step toward increasing communication would be blogs for the different SA committees that serve as connections between students and SA policy-making.
In creating the new UR Web page, the Office of University Communications utilized the idea of a blog to update the community on its progress and promote feedback on these developments. While the Web page didn’t have a lot of traffic, it did generate specific suggestions that improved the quality of the final product.
The same idea employed by SA committees would be extremely useful in garnering a better student response regarding issues these committees tackle. A blog would allow for input from students who want to be more involved but don’t have the time or ability to be a part of SA committees.
If a wider student base is involved in the deliberation process, then hopefully in future semesters, concerns like last spring’s student backlash to the new meal plans could be speedily addressed.
The Hive Web site would be the ideal location for this blog. While the site already updates students on events happening around campus and issues within student government, a forum for students to directly discuss committees’ efforts to improve University policies would be a welcomed addition.
Committee blogs would also generate a lot of appeal because of their convenience. With the difference between apathy and involvement in campus discussion just a click away, the UR student body can easily engage as wiser constituents.
The SA needs to adopt a more effective and resourceful way to incorporate students’ needs and opinions when it makes changes in policy affecting the student body, and committee blogs that allow for discussion of these changes would be a great step toward making this happen.