In Monday's edition, Philip Badaszewski asked a multitude of questions I'm sure all freshmen have asked themselves at one point or another in his opinion piece entitled "Incommunicado." Unfortunately, he didn't seem to offer too many answers to those questions, opting to instead bash SA's supposed lack of communication rather than possibly help other confused freshmen. Therefore, I'd like to offer a couple pointers to Badaszewski, as well as all the other "lost" freshmen out there.
First off, it should be noted that organizations like SA can only do so much. In his article, Badaszewski actually mentions several information outlets, such as Visions, SA tables and the SA Web site. However, he then goes on to say that most people don't have time "for all of that." If we were to believe that argument, then it would follow that people also don't have enough time to read The Spectrum or Generation, talk on the phone or check their e-mail. The fact is that SA is communicating quite well; it's the student body that isn't paying attention.
I'm the external affairs officer for the UB Anime club here on campus (which, by the way, is a part of SA) and it's my job to advertise the club, its meetings and events. I have a variety of ways I can do this, whether it's via our club Web site, our club mailing list, posting flyers around campus or even this letter. Occasionally we have a table out in the Student Union lobby and have a club e-mail address that people can send questions or comments to. We even have an AOL Instant Messenger screen name for our office computer in case someone needs to contact us instantly.
Despite all this, very few of these resources are ever utilized. If no one is willing to "take the time" to glance at a flyer board, check a Web site or even send an instant message, then my job is an exercise in futility. While it is the responsibility of the organization to make sure it gets the word out, it's also the responsibility of the confused student to seek out this information instead of expecting it all to instantly fall in their lap.
Also, while asking questions is definitely a good way to find out information, doing it in a random, confused opinion piece isn't the way to go about it. All one has to do is ask people face to face and eventually the answer will come. A good place to start is right in the Student Union lobby at the Information Desk that will then probably lead to the Office of Student Life in room 150 or the SA office in room 350 where one can ask more questions.
It would be nice if SA could just put a giant billboard out in front of the Student Union that says, "Here's everything you need to know about student activities!" Unfortunately, SA has neither the space nor the budget to implement this. Therefore, it's up to those students who are truly interested in finding out "what's going on" to stop hoping the answers will magically appear and instead take action and ask questions to someone other than themselves. Seek and ye shall find, as they say. It's what the SA mantra "Get Involved" is all about.