When University President Jim Ryan outlined the goals for his administration, he highlighted the “Ours to Shape” to collect community input on ways to strengthen cultures of community, discovery and service at the University. Student, faculty, staff and other members of the University have contributed their suggestions through online essay submissions and through attendance at several events throughout the year. President Ryan and the University administration must continue to solicit input from the University community — and students must take their own initiative — to address areas of needed change to make such changes as effective as possible.
In keeping with the University tradition of student self-governance, students must take advantage of the opportunity to voice their concerns and suggestions to improve the University community as a whole. President Ryan and the University administration must prioritize student input in this process. Given recent concerns students have expressed regarding the proposed in tuition and other decisions made by the administration, it is important that students, President Ryan, and the rest of the University administration maintain open channels of communication to ensure that a large and inclusive group of community members take part in shaping the University’s future as it heads into its third century.
Tabitha Enoch, an assistant dean and director of orientation and new student programs, the purpose of “Ours to Shape.” “It’s not about knowing all of the answers, but asking the right questions.” Determining the goals and interests of the student body is pressing because students are the very ones who are most affected by the administration’s decisions. Rising costs in tuition represent challenges for students and their families, and the allocation of resources influences the University’s academic offerings and other areas of student life, such as the accessibility of health and counseling services.
In order to better include students in the “Ours to Shape” initiative, the University administration should hold more events such as the one on Nov. 27 and continue to collect input through online essay submissions. Maintaining transparency in decision-making and developments in the initiative are also important in ensuring that the administration’s efforts to include students in shaping our community are being implemented.
Students are the ultimate stakeholders in the University experience. When they graduate, they carry their University affiliation with them for the rest of their lives, and the years spent as an undergraduate or graduate here influence their careers, beliefs and intellectual development. In order to help the University fulfill its mission of developing responsible, students and the administration — along with other members of the University community — must work together to foster the best experience and community here possible.
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