This week, students were frustrated by the storm of e-mails we received advertising campus events. It is an annoyance to sift through the many advertisements and announcements that bombard us day in and day out. Moreover, the daily deluge of times, titles and locations—most of which only interest a small number of students—causes the most vital information to get lost in the shuffle.
This excess of noise only leads to more of the same. When even a few students abuse the system by swamping it with their announcements, they prompt others to post excessively too, just to keep up.
In the short term, students need to be more conscientious about how they post to the class year e-mail distribution list and the Student Digest. These two forums serve different functions and their distinctions should be respected.
It is important we consider the purpose of a class list. Is it a means to communicate information that is indisputably of relavance to the student body? Or is it a bulletin board for campus events that are potentially meaningful to its recipients? There are certain e-mails that are vital to all students, such as those regarding College policy, course selection, housing deadlines or meal plans. But there is also virtue in informing the campus of the many interesting events we may not otherwise find out about and enjoy.
The Digest is not reaching its full potential. Students know the most important information will be e-mailed to them and that to check the Digest would be redundant. If students do decide to check it regardless, it is difficult to glean information due to posters' lack of respect for others' posts. The deficiency in control over the number of posts is exacerbated by its lack of categorical regulation. This morning's Digest, for example, contained posts titled "New Campus Cutie!", "Bike Repairs" and "MUSIC: Bowdoin Chorus," in that order. These things may be interesting in their own right, but when muddled together with 15 others, they become hard to find and painful to wade through. These announcements comprise a website link, a service and an event, yet they appear stacked one on top of another.
A long-term solution is needed. Fortunately, a more efficient digital organization system is a priority of current Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) President John Connolly—a huge benefit to our cause. While Information Technology is beleaguered with requests from the administration and faculty, it often is left in the dark about what the students want. While BSG itself may not have the manpower to make the changes we aim for, it does have the ability to accelerate the process. We need to optimize student Web services, and with a little help from BSG, work may begin sooner than we think.
That being said, this feat will not happen overnight. In the meantime, we ask one thing: that students be courteous and remember to think before we e-mail or post. By all means send and post: but do it once, and once only. Though it only takes one student one second to delete one e-mail, all of those seconds add up; they are significant in aggregate.
The editorial represents the majority view of the Bowdoin Orient's editorial board, which comprises Claire Collery, Nick Daniels, Piper Grosswendt, Zoe Lescaze and Seth Walder.