Results from the Orient’s latest approval ratings survey indicate an 84 percent approval rating for Bowdoin Student Government (BSG), the highest first semester ratings in four years. BSG President Sarah Nelson ’14 also ranked highly this term, with 86 percent of respondents favoring her performance thus far.
This fall, BSG introduced two new programs: TurboVote, a service that helps students apply for absentee ballots, and PolarFlix, a free online film-streaming program. Some of the Executive Committee’s most ambitious campaign proposals from last spring have yet to be realized, and are pending administrative approval. Currently, BSG carries a proposal that would extend the deadline for Credit/D/Fail, and waits for the Recording Committee to take action. We applaud BSG for taking steps towards actualizing this key campaign issue and hope it will doggedly pursue the policy change. BSG has also continued the popular Food For Thought lecture series it began last spring, offering a platform for students to nominate their friends for short, informal talks on topics of their choice. The lectures have been well-attended and wide-ranging, from “Life Without Brakes: BMX and Extreme Sports Culture in Brooklyn” to “Story of My Life: An Inside Look at the One Direction Fangirl Phenomenon” this Monday.
The success of these lectures depends on student engagement, both from speakers and audience. This is true of most BSG initiatives—when they fall short, lukewarm student participation is often partly responsible. Its course review website, for example, is a valuable resource for selecting classes. BSG runs the website, but the utility of the database depends on students submitting up-to-date class reviews. Right now, only one member of the class of 2017 has written a review; just 83 reviews have been contributed from members of the sophomore class. We will all be filling out paper course evaluations for the Office of Academic Affairs during our final classes next week, and we encourage everyone to take a few extra minutes to submit their thoughts on the BSG site as well.
A few years ago, BSG briefly made syllabi for classes in some departments available online. This was a popular and much utilized service: when a selection of government course syllabi were released in November 2010, the BSG website drew over 300 views in less than a week. The scope of this program was contingent upon faculty agreeing to provide syllabi to BSG, and was impeded by the fact that few departments provided current information. BSG has let this program lapse, and we hope to see it reinvigorated in the future.
We applaud BSG for the work it has done so far this semester and we hope it will not back down from the more complex and long-term proposals that constituted its members’ campaign platforms.
The editorial represents the majority view of the Bowdoin Orient’s editorial board, which is comprised of Claire Aasen, Erica Berry, Nora Biette-Timmons, Marisa McGarry, Eliza Novick-Smith, Sam Miller and Sam Weyrauch.