If you’re a Truman State University student, from the moment you arrived on campus, you’ve had people yelling at you from all sides to “get involved!” Student advisers, professors, organization promoters and fellow students all say it’s the way to go. People always tell you to join a club or play a sport.
This is not bad advice at all, but there’s another version of involvement students should be worried about, and that’s involvement in the inner workings of the University.
If you read The Index regularly, first of all, thank you. Also, you have probably seen terms like “Undergraduate Council,” “Faculty Senate” and “Board of Governors” thrown around in front page stories about changes to curriculum and University policy. These three organizations make huge decisions about the University that affect you and me and every other student on this campus. If your professor wants to create a new class, if your department head wants to tweak the major program or if the University wants to hire a new professor, it has to go through at least one of these decision-making bodies.
Index reporters don’t get access to these meetings because we’re special. All these meetings are open to the public. With the exception of some personnel decisions made behind closed doors, you can see every discussion, every resolution and every vote that comes up in these meetings, and they vote on important issues. At its last meeting, Faculty Senate voted to combine several language majors into one major with multiple tracks. That doesn’t mean the proposal is a done deal, but it’s on its way. That’s just one of the many consequential decisions these bodies make every semester.
Last semester, I covered an Undergraduate Council meeting where they discussed the foreign languages proposal and I didn’t see a single other student in the room. I’m not here to chide you for not going to these meetings or to put myself up on a pedestal for going. I just want to make you aware. There are decisions being made weekly that impact you and your classmates.
Granted, you generally cannot speak at these meetings. You would only be there to observe. But after the meeting, there’s always the opportunity to go up to one of the governors or faculty members and talk to them about how the meeting went.
Truman is a campus of passionate individuals. Students are rarely quiet about their dissatisfaction with the status quo. Take this a step further and follow the advice given to every freshman: get involved! Don’t let people make decisions that affect you without your knowledge or be the last to find out when a major change was made to your degree program.
UGC meets this afternoon at 3 p.m. in the SUB alumni room. Faculty Senate meets next Thursday at the same time in the same place. The Board of Governors next meets Saturday, Feb. 9. Go to these meetings, be informed and get involved.
Nicolas Telep is a senior communication major and Truman Media Network’s Digital Director. You can follow him on Twitter @NDTelep.