Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Opening The Vents of Communication

Kudos to our friend Simeon over at The Commentator for his shoutout (notice that The YU Vent gets the last word...). As a response/supplement to his article, I wanted to share with our readership one of the essays I wrote for my (as-of-yet pending) RA application. The question asked that I: "Describe something that you are personally passionate about. You now have an opportunity to translate this passion into action and be the “President of the Cause” for a day. What do you want to accomplish and as a leader, how would you accomplish it?"

I'm passionate about changing YU. When I got here, I found my transition to YU difficult and disillusioning. This situation was not helped by the senses of bad inertia and general dissatisfaction I found here. I hope that by the time I leave, things will have changed to the extent that most students at YU will view their experience positively. To this end I have joined the staff of a grassroots movement called The YU Vent (check us out at www.theYUvent.blogspot.com).

Publishing anyone who's willing to write (well), we've already begun to effect some changes based on what the students really want. You've seen the little post-it notes and pencils next to each library computer – that was us. Instead of the whining that happens on the pages of the Commentator, we've taken pains to meet with and contact administrators of all colors in the hopes that the student side will be heard and taken into account.

So what does all this have to do with the topic of this essay? My “cause” would be the creation of a special position or committee entitled “Student Advisor(s) to The President.” This body would serve dual, but complementary, functions. The few yokels who get to ask questions at the once-a-semester town hall meeting aren't enough for their administration to keep their fingers on the pulse of the student body. On the other hand, the students are often confused and bothered by some of the administration's policies and decisions.

The Student Advisor would open the much-needed channels of communication. Not only will he be able to tell the President/Deans/Vice-Presidents about the unpopularity of their decision at the Dining Room tables, but it will also be his job to explain the decision to the student body. Maybe if they really understood what was going on, they wouldn't disagree.

Only if we work together can we make YU a truly good place.

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