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Lack of Student Life staff concerns student groups, clubs

Bijeta Lamichhane 

Contributing Writer

Last semester, without enough staff in Student Activities, the organizers of different events at the College found themselves in a tough situation. When questioned about the challenges faced by their clubs while organizing events, the members reported facing issues with running logistics, stalled reimbursement and reallocation forms and mix-ups regarding their club’s budget information.

“We recently organized Nepali Momo night and wanted to order some things for the event,” Sochina Ranjit ’19, co-president of South Asian Committee (SAC), said, recalling one of the recent issues her club faced. “But we came to find out that there was no one at the office due to various reasons throughout the week. It would have been convenient to know that people wouldn’t be there in the office so that we could reorganize our event accordingly.”

Ranjit also mentioned that they faced issues with delayed booking confirmation for spaces. Lack of communication has been another common issue faced by different organizations at the College due to the inadequate number of staff members in Student Affairs.

The clubs, however, have consistently overcome challenges to make their events successful. When asked about the measures they took to ensure their events went well, Kennedy McKain ’19, a member of Wooster Activities Crew (WAC), said, “We asked around for friends to help make the event possible.” 

McKain then went on to add, “WAC also makes it possible for people to be committee members. This position does not demand them to create the event, but to help volunteer at shows and give feedback and input on what could possibly make the event better from a student perspective.”

Finally, she highlighted the help WAC received by the student crew that worked at Lowry  Center and the Underground. “Set-up and tear-down would not have been as smooth without them,” she said.

However, with new staff members added to Student Activities, the organizers may now have a fewer things to worry about while organizing their events. Dean of Students Scott Brown ensures the same.

“I am happy to say we have just hired a great new program coordinator and interim assistant director for student programming who are both already doing many things — about to reopen the Underground, support our programming and also help most effectively manage logistics,” Brown said. “We have looked at campus scheduling institutionally, and just hired a Campus Scheduler.”

He also mentioned that the College has also purchased new scheduling software, which will be fully implemented for the fall semester.

Brown also notes that hiring in Student Activities as well as Academic Affairs is an extended process. “We make sure we have time to develop a strong pool, put people through several rounds of interviews and then they often need to time transition to the area and/or from a previous position,” he said. “That means if the people transition out of Wooster, depending on the time of year, doing a proper search may need to be delayed and we cover those positions as best as we can in the interim. Julia Zimmer [director for Lowry Center and student activities] and her much smaller team have done just that.”

The challenges faced by the organizers as well as the staff in Students Activities last semester may finally be put to rest with the addition of new staff members and the installation of the scheduling software. The work has already started. Recently, on Tuesday, Jan. 22, Sarah Toby joined the campus community as the new program coordinator for Lowry Center and Student Activities. Toby is looking forward to working for the restoration of the Underground and has mentioned that she has an open-door policy. This is especially good news for the organizers who have had difficulties organizing their events due to lack of communication. With all that is being done, every party involved is looking forward to organizing well-structured events with fewer challenges and issues.

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