Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) has made meaningful progress towards realizing the campaign platforms its members ran on last spring. We commend BSG for actively pursuing projects including bringing LSAT and MCAT prep courses to the College, extending Thanksgiving break, and making the proceedings of the student government more transparent to the Bowdoin community.
It is a mark of BSG’s commitment to maintaining accountability that the Executive Committee provided a comprehensive report of its progress to the Orient at the start of this semester.
BSG introduced a new website at the beginning of this academic year, which was the product of much time and effort within the organization. The site’s launch was a positive step toward establishing standards of institutional accountability and record keeping that will serve generations of students to come. Even small projects, like subsidizing discounted movie tickets to Regal Cinemas and Brunswick Taxi services, and reviving Winter Weekend, evidence the fact that BSG spent the fall working hard. BSG President Dani Chediak has put forward a proposal to bring graduate school test prep courses to campus, one of the promises she made to the senior class last spring. We urge the administration to accept her proposal so that students do not have to pay out of pocket for help preparing for graduate school.
Despite its successes, BSG has been held back by its rigid adherence to bureaucratic protocol when it could have focused more on improving efficiency.It is disappointing that last spring’s Uncommon Hour series did not continue this fall, and there is no reason why it should not restart this semester. It is also worrisome that BSG has let previous efforts at collaboration with Brunswick officials fizzle now that there are no visible issues to be resolved between the College and the town. We cannot afford to take our good relationship with the local community for granted, and hope to see more communication between BSG and Brunswick in the future.
BSG can also respond to student frustation by working with the Office of Residential Life to improve the College House selection procedure. The current system is frustratingly opaque, and an improved protocol would include more input from current College House residents.
The proposal to extend Thanksgiving Break dates back to the fall of 2010, when BSG reasoned that it would benefit students from outside of New England. The faculty voted against a longer break last year, and this year—despite a BSG-organized protest—chose not to bring the issue to a vote. It is clear the student government is dedicated to furthering the interests of students, but bureaucratic measures have made it all but impossible for them to push this issue any further without the concerted help of the faculty and administration.
BSG has made good on a number of its promises thus far, but there is still much work to be done this semester. Our elected representatives cannot work in isolation—all students are invited to attend weekly BSG meetings, where they can speak up about problems on campus. BSG has made an effort to better serve the student body, but it cannot do so without direction and participation from its constituents.