15The Georgetown community features a wide variety of clubs and student organizations, which range from the Georgetown University Grilling Society to the International Relations Club. All of these organizations need space to meet and organize on campus, and this can put a squeeze on the already limited amount of space available.

Students currently can reserve rooms online, but this process is often lengthy and frustrating. Given that classroom space is limited, the university ought to leave more rooms open at night and restructure its online reservation system. Student organizations would have an easier time organizing and individual students would be able to use campus space more efficiently.

The registrar currently maintains the online classroom reservation system, which gives priority first to academic courses, then non-credit courses and finally student groups and individual students. Reserving a room requires submitting a form with one’s personal information and the purpose of the meeting.

While this information is necessary, the system itself is not adequately transparent. The university could allocate space more efficiently through a system that employs technology similar to that of a Google Doc. There would be a list of all the spaces available on campus, sortable by date, time and location, which would give students up-to-the-minute knowledge of which rooms were available. Having a master list would also make it easier for students to find alternative free spaces when popular rooms are booked.

This system would also help student groups recruit and retain more members. Any Georgetown student could log on and see when and where groups are meeting instead of having to sort through packed bulletin boards and email inboxes to find meeting information. Likewise, student groups could get their message out more effectively. All information about meeting times and locations could be found in one place, which would save time and streamline the meeting process.

Furthermore, the list of clubs and student organizations on Georgetown’s website is in need of improvement. Many of the links to groups’ websites are broken or lead to pages that have not been updated in years. Updating this page and redesigning it in a more user-friendly format would help students see the opportunities they have to participate in student groups that they might have missed at the Student Activities Fair. The page that lists student clubs could then be linked directly to the room reservation page, making it easier to coordinate meetings for various organizations.

Along with improving its method for room reservations, the university should examine its policies on locking buildings and classrooms after hours. The Rafik B. Hariri Building originally had limited access for non-business school students after 10 p.m., and the classrooms inside are usually locked after the end of the academic day. In Regents Hall, classrooms are also locked, restricting students’ access to this new study space. These are valuable resources on a campus that is already short on space, and they are squandered when students are consistently locked out of empty rooms.

Georgetown has a vibrant mix of student groups and organizations, and in order to strengthen the student community on campus, the university should take whatever steps it can to make organizing meetings and finding classroom space easier. Student clubs are a vital part of Georgetown’s identity, and the enthusiasm with which they operate is evident every year. With the university as a willing partner, students will have the resources and support they need to ensure that there is a diverse mix of organizations through which students can express themselves.

Dan Healy is a senior in the College. This is the final appearance of TALK IS CHEAP this semester.

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