Student Life Progress Remains Tentative
Published: Friday, September 14, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 14, 2012 02:09
Almost seven months after the release of the Student Life Report, a 10-year blueprint for improving the quality of the on-campus experience, its primary recommendations are still in the process of being addressed.
The main requests brought up in the report included improving administrative accessibility, increasing the availability of student space, expanding Georgetown’s arts programs, increasing undergraduate research opportunities and hiring a professional director of club sports, among others.
According to Director of Student Life Report Implementation Jack Appelbaum (COL ’14), the Georgetown University Student Association wants to carefully prioritize recommendations and ensure that student autonomy is emphasized in the process of enacting the goals listed in the report.
“We’re not saying these are the 60 recommendations and we’re trying to check them off,” he said. “A lot of the recommendations are in progress.”
Appelbaum said the Hoya Roundtables and the crowd-sourcing website IdeaScale will be utilized to allow students to input their suggestions for campus improvement.
According to President Clara Gustafson (SFS ’13), GUSA has struggled to implement several of the recommendations related to improving communication between students and administrators.
“Reducing bureaucracy is always a challenge at this university,” she said.
Thus far, GUSA is working to institute office hours for University President John J. DeGioia and Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson.
“We all love him, but we don’t see him, so it would be great to see him at those bigger events,” Gustafson said of DeGioia.
According to Chief of Staff Jake Sticka (COL ’13), GUSA has successfully made strides toward addressing space recommendations included in the report.
The construction of Regents Hall has increased the number of study areas on campus, but GUSA hopes to continue to add to study space on campus based on recommendations made in the report.
Additionally, a centralized space-booking system, overseen by Director of Student Programs Erika Cohen-Derr and Chief Information Officer Lisa Davis, has been created to consolidate information about space availability across campus.
GUSA is also working with the performing arts board to improve arts at the university. Students and faculty alike have expressed disappointment with the current programs.
Department of Performing Arts Chair Maya Roth said that the university recognizes its oversight of the department.
“The last time Georgetown went through [the Middle States accreditation process], there was serious concern about how you can call yourself a rigorous liberal arts institution for not taking the arts seriously,” Roth said.
However, Roth said that due to an increased interest in the arts, the arrival of new students with fresh talent and the university’s recognition of the need to dedicate more resources to this program, she is hopeful that the department will expand.
GUSA also aims to improve student intellectual life by instituting an undergraduate research symposium that will be held in the spring.
“It’s a great way to centralize intellectual life,” Sticka said. “Now we see Georgetown as a school rewarding research.”
Though the university has not yet hired a professional director to manage Georgetown’s club sports program, these teams now have a cabinet member to represent their interests in GUSA.
Overall, Sticka was optimistic about the progress of the report’s implementation.
“It’ll be exciting, going forward,” he said.