It is about time for membership in academic organizations to be abolished. Forcing students to join an organization has been the question of students through the years.
Last March 5, Nikko Calledo, the vice president of the SU Student Government (SUSG), called student leaders from Students’ Rights And Welfare Committee (STRAW) and Committee on Student Organization and representatives from Student Organizations and Activities Division and Office of Student Services for a meeting regarding this issue.
The results in the survey conducted by STRAW Committee since July, which was reported in the meeting, showed that 59 percent of the students want membership in academic organizations to be voluntary than mandatory and 34 percent are okay with the requirement.
Some academic organization presidents voiced out concerns in making membership voluntary, saying that it will affect organizations negatively. The possibility of having fewer members will likely occur, which means less manpower and funds for activities.
The Weekly Sillimanian (tWS) gets Calledo’s counterargument that thinking of having fewer members once changes will be made is like questioning their own leadership and respective organizations. Academic organization presidents,including their respective co-officers, should instead challenge themselves to make their events and other activities more enticing for students to participate.
On the other hand, the staff also understands the sentiment of different presidents in academic organizations, especially in college organizations that also serve as councils.
It is also not surprising if people will question the credibility of the survey results. Only 151 students out of 677 students answered the survey sheets on USpeak sessions. Not all college attendances were able to reach 10 percent, the intended percentage of students per college who shall answer the survey sheets.
However, observations is in a way, a form of surveying. And even if USpeak sessions were organized by STRAW Committee for students to raise their concerns as Sillimanians, the attendance is a mark that student apathy is still evident.
tWS does not intend to lash out on the current student government administration and academic and non-academic organizations in the university for not making good efforts in attracting students to be more active in campus activities. This school year, all organizations and student bodies have been generally productive in organizing events and informing students about their purposes. But sadly, student apathy is still a problem of every administration through the years.
Moreover, contrary to popular belief, when it comes to academic organizations, the fees are not collected to discourage students from joining academic organizations. In the survey, 84 students said that they do not think the fees are excessive, while 57 said otherwise. Some students also said that they were okay with the fees because breakdowns or allocations were provided. The more pressing problem is the difficulty of addressing apathy.
Yes, it is about time for reforms to be made regarding membership, but tWS also believes that before Calledo will ask for the signatures of academic organization presidents, there should be more meetings. Changing the system for both structural and behavioral change needs more discussion and planning to have less loopholes. One meeting is never enough for this matter.