The Next Step

by Jorge Miranda | 10/17/00 5:00am

What happened to the Student Life Initiative? What happened to greater student involvement in how decisions are made at this college?

What happened is what always happens. Last year one fourth of Dartmouth students graduated and this year a whole new class of students has arrived. Most of the '01s are in the midst of choosing a career. And the D-Plan is tossing the '02s and '03s all over the place. So most of the discussion from last year has slowed to a crawl.

And to complicate things, there isn't just one committee or group dealing with this thing. For a year and a half this community was consumed with writing proposals, holding discussions and engaging the campus. Everything was geared towards the CSLI and the recommendations they would make the Winter of 2000. And then we were fixed on the decisions the Trustees would make in the Spring of 2000.

Now that's all over. So what happens now? For weeks the '04s have been told again and again that they will have "an incredible opportunity to shape the future of Dartmouth." They've been told that this a special time for Dartmouth. They've heard a lot of talk about the SLI but very few details. Where do we go from here? What's the next step?

What most people don't know is that the next step has already begun. However, instead of a single group in charge of the SLI, there will be several committees. That's right -- the college is creating MORE committees. Rather than a single unified process, everything is going to be decentralized. If you thought it was confusing before, SLI Implementation will probably be one of the most confusing things you've ever experienced.

How do you get involved? Who do you send ideas to? And the biggest and simplest question -- What's going on?

The Student Assembly is dedicated to making the entire implementation process as easy to understand as possible. Getting involved should not be a difficult task. Finding out what is happening should not be an obstacle.

So over the following weeks and months, SA will be working to centralize an administrative process that is inherently decentralized. We want you to know what committees are being formed by the College. We want to make sure you know how to apply for these committees. We want you to know what students are on all these committees. If we fail in any of these aspects then we have failed to effectively serve students.

And it has already begun. Student Assembly appoints student representatives to each of the implementation committees the College forms. You do not have to be a Student Assembly member to apply. We want people who care about the issues and who are willing to put the time into the committees. The deadlines and applications vary -- they can all be found on the SA Blitz Bulletin -- "Student Assembly News and Information."

One of the biggest committees currently being formed is the World Cultures Initiative Steering Committee. Remember the WCI?

The Chair of the Board of Trustees said that the World Cultures Initiative represents the "College's commitment to diversity and internationalism." By increasing cultural awareness, the World Cultures Initiative aims to help students "develop as citizens not only of this country but of the world."

The other key aspect of the World Cultures Initiative is that it is very vague. What is written above is as much as anyone knows about it. The WCI steering committee will determine the future of this initiative. So if you've ever cared about issues of community and diversity, now is the time to get involved. This committee will be crucial to the future of Dartmouth. The deadline for students to apply is Sunday, October 22. All the information you need is on the SA blitz bulletin.

And if you go to the blitz bulletin, you will also find other college-formed committees that YOU can apply for that have nothing to do with the SLI. They're crucial to increasing the role students play in college decisions.

The newly-created Financial Aid Office Advisory Committee helps advise the FAO on all aspects of financial aid. This application is due today, October 17. The First-Year Student Advisory Board will be a sounding board and a place to propose ideas on how to improve orientation and the effectiveness of the FYO. This application is due Sunday, October 22.

This is only the beginning of a long SLI implementation process. At times it will be hard to navigate and understand. And the discontinuity of the D-Plan will make it more difficult. But this should not prevent students from being present at the table. The next step begins now.

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