Archive for September, 2008

Line Etiquette Reflects Community Values

Posted on September 23, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

This morning I waited with thousands of other OSU students for tickets to the upcoming football game against USC. The line was already snaking around Gill Coliseum when we arrived at 7AM and I had already seen a large contingency of “extreme Beaver Believers” camped out for tickets the night before. On the surface, this line was a showcase to the devotion that OSU faithful have for their football team and university- something that students would be proud to be a part of and remember fondly as the kickoff to their academic year. Under the surface things were quite different. During the 2+ hours that I stood in line, I saw countless students cutting in line and hundreds of friends enable their buddies to cut. My primary concern as I watched the line grow and grow in width not length was what message this behavior was sending to the new members of our community.

If I could, I would ask the following questions of those new students: Were you taking away a belief that cutting corners is a legitimate way to get ahead at OSU? How will that impact your future decisions to cheat on a quiz, or lie to a roommate, or tell the truth on a job application?

For the students who chose to cut I ask, what compelled you to cut? Did you plan to from the beginning or did you decide it was ok when you saw others doing it? Did you realize that they you were compromising your personal integrity in order to gain a better seat? Did you realize that in bettering your own situation, you were inevidably hurting everyone elses? Where was your respect and civility for your fellow students? If you are a student leader, how did your actions reflect your organizations values?

For students who wanted athletics or public safety to regulate the line (there was a point where I definitely fell into this category) I ask, do you expect the university to regulate all student behavior? What freedoms will you lose if we do so? What benefits will you gain? And what are you willing to do to help promote student integrity and respect? Did any of you call out those cutting in line? How did those around you react? How did you feel when you did it?

Ultimately I want to commend those students who took the high road, who didn’t cut and didn’t let their friends cut. Whether you got tickets or not, you are the students who deserve to represent OSU on the national stage. You are the ones who motivate me and others like me to continue the work that we do.

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Combating info overload/folder fatigue

Posted on September 16, 2008. Filed under: NODA Internship |

Everyone who has ever working orientation knows the pain of stuffing endless information folders for students and parents. This summer I stuffed more than my fair share and I’m sure that factors into my feelings on the matter. I understand that departments and offices on campus want to get the message out about the services and programs they offer, however I question how valuable/retain-able this information is to orientation students in its current form. All told SJSU students receive 33 seperate documents (many two or more pages a piece) in their student folders and parents receive a similar number. While a handful of the information is specifically referenced during the two day program, most of it is information that we expect them to take home and read. I am very skeptical about how many of them do this and more concerned about how many of actually retain the information they are given. Ultimately, I think it is time to take a look at this process of information dispersal and revise it for the new NetGeneration students. These students are not in the habit of reading through a sea of papers to become completely aware of every program and service the university provides. Instead the majority of these students wait until they have a specific question and then go on-line to search for an answer. Therefore it may be more beneficial to give them a tutorial on the web directory and how to access various offices’ websites.

My other concern with having paper heavy orientation folders is that the information that is most relevant and important is often overlooked simply because it is swimming in a sea of supplemental materials. For example, one of the documents we provided was a guide to being safe on campus. Not only did this packet address an area that wasn’t covered enough during orientation it also provided info about something many students don’t proactively seek out. On the other hand, we also included a brochure about the bowling center in the student union. I did not think this was a proper venue for this info because students who were truly interested in this service would look it up on their own and most of them would find their way into the union for other activities and therefore learn about the bowling center.

I am quite certain that orientation folders will not go away anytime soon and support the idea that they are a good way to get out information about certain things to new students. I am equally convinced that orientation staff members must be more intentional about what they put in these folders and spend a bit more time considering the logistical nightmares associated with stuffing endless packets. While Michael Scott may believe in providing “unlimited paper in a paperless world”, I do not think that universities should follow suite.

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