The Arizona Desert Lamp

ASUA Senate Meeting XIV

Posted in Campus, Politics by Evan Lisull on 3 December 2008

1. Freshman Survival Guide — Sen. Steven Wallace’s Grand Project of his Senate term is creating this booklet, which, as the title suggests, aims to provide Freshmen with all of the knowledge that they might need, whether it be advisors, academic calendars, off-campus housing, night-life opportunities for 21+ students, or the “pros and cons of each dorm.” Hopefully, this last part relies on campus reputation; for instance,

CORONADO:

Pro: Nine floors of whores.

Con: Nine floors of whores.

But I digress. This guide sounds nice . . . but it also sounds very familiar. I (thankfully) haven’t had to go orientation in a long time, but I still have the “Resource Guide” that they handed out way back in 2006. The resource guide includes a four year academic calendar, the colleges within the UA, campus resources & off-campus partners, contact information for various places on campus, and a campus map.Yet this resource guide also has features that Sen. Wallace failed to include, such as a basic FAQ on CatCards, as well as information on how to fill out a change of schedule form. Even all of this information just represents the Resource Guide itself; much of orientation is spent collecting pamphlets and papers on everything from religious groups on campus to the structure of the Gen Ed program.

The points here are that (a) this already exists; (b) there’s no groundswell of demand for it; and (c) there’s no need for it. Much of Sen. Wallace’s presentation was based on personal experience of being confused, but that is inherently a part of being a freshman, an experience that no guidebook can overturn. Don’t know how to use the washing machine? Ask for help — it’ll help you to reach out and meet new people (/vomit). Need to reference an academic calendar? Go to the UA’s homepage; and if you can’t find it from there, then you have bigger issues than just being a freshman.

. . .and A Scholarship! Here in journalism-land, this is what we call burying the lede. Bizarrely, part of this proposal entails forming a new “Senate scholarship,” which by Sen. Wallace’s estimation will be paid with the sponsorship money that is “left over” after paying for the book.

What is unclear is whether or not Notehall will be paying for their mention in the guide. In the outline of the guide, one section of the “Academics” heading would include “a brief Notehall.com description.” It would appear, in spite of their denials, that my Buchanantennae (thanks, Connor) were on to something. I don’t doubt that Notehall is a good resource worth considering, but I also don’t doubt that Subway is a really good place to get food. But that doesn’t mean that Subway should get an endorsement from ASUA without paying a dime, and neither should Notehall. If they want to be included in this guide, then they should pay for their advertising as any legitimate, non-rent-seeking business would.

2. Who is the team that’s watching your calorie count? SNC! You’re damn right. The Student Nutritional Council had their first presentation today, along with their first proposed measure, The Jump Start Breakfast Card. But instead of some revolutionary, new way to encourage healthy eating on campus, they instead offer a punch-card — buy nine approved breakfast items, get the tenth free. I have to say, this doesn’t quite inspire me to go out and seize the bran muffin. I think I’ll take Paul Fussell’s Milk Punch instead.

If you’ll allow me to get up on a soapbox for a bit, I think the bigger issue here is a growing paternalism from our own student government. It’s one thing for the usual Nanny State forces prate about “a safe society”; but to listen to one of my peers lecture about “substituting that coffee for a juice” is especially grating (you’ll get my coffee the same way you’ll get my gun).

Tarnation, I didn’t come to college to start eating like a 45 year old woman from South Beach. College is about drinking copious amounts of beer and coffee, eating instant noodles and Los Betos, and generally being not healthy. This is a degree-granting institution, not a health spa.

This means that, when it comes to providing food on campus, the first priority of administrators should be concerns of affordability. Health certainly must play a factor, and there must be healthy options available. But as SNC’s own presentation pointed out, there are plenty of options already existing on campus, options that don’t even include the as-of-now-unnamed Cellar Bistro.

So I’m sick of the motherf—
(Shut yo mouth)
But I’m talking about SNC!
(Then we can dig it)

3. Women’s Resource Center. It’s an old issue, but the WRC really wants to be independent.

However, I’m skeptical of how important their “comprehensive sexual education program” really is. In a post-Internet age, it’s ludicrous to pretend that college students don’t know how to use a condom. If you Google “how to use a condom” (a search that’ll mar my Google Trends for ages), you get not only a litany of helpful diagrams, but a series of demonstrative videos. Why should UA students who already know how to use prophylactics, or students who have no desire in being sexual active, be forced to subsidize the education of those that do? Incidentally, could someone spell a good argument for sex ed existing at all? I find it as ludicrous as D.A.R.E. in its impact.

Going back to an older post, I don’t see why this couldn’t be an arm of a newly formed Women’s Center on campus. Even though they claim to have raised $60,000 in outside funds, it takes a lot of chutzpah in the current environment to ask for a new, full-time staffer on the payroll.

PS: The new Elections Code is up. More on that by tomorrow, but it’s not too promising. In the meantime, peruse it here [PDF].

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4 Responses

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  1. Laura Donovan said, on 4 December 2008 at 12:34 am

    This is awesome. I lived in Coronado as a freshman, and it was the -worst- possible residence hall, at least for me. I wouldn’t recommend anyone live there, not even the crazy freshmen. Unless someone wants to have a crazy roommate and be woken up at 2 am by drunk jackasses setting off the fire alarm, Coronado is the wrong dorm to live in.

    You also raise a good point about the meal plan options. College isn’t about staying fit and healthy, and people do gain weight with age. You can’t keep your kid body forever, and the university isn’t responsible for anyone’s diet.

    Above all, I agree with you on the Women’s Resource Center issue. In today’s world, they can’t seriously believe most students don’t know anything about sex before coming to college.

    To disagree, I don’t think sex ed should be completely done without, at least not in high school. Instructors would do us all a favor by leaving their personal opinions out of the program, however.

  2. Emily Fritze said, on 4 December 2008 at 1:35 am

    A couple points:
    – The guide needs some work. Yes, there are already many resources for students out and about on campus. If someone spends enough time they can find out some information, However, Steve raises a good point. It would be nice to have some collaboration from different areas in the school. If you combined academic information like the Resource guide with some other student life elements and club/organization guides, it could be worthwhile. However, some serious resources, time, and money would be needed to make the kind of legitimate guide that I think would be worth making. So, we will see.
    – I wouldn’t call myself a very health-conscious person. However, SNC’s purpose is not to dictate a healthy lifestyle for other people. It provides nutritional information for the rare college student that chooses to eat healthy or occasionally diet. I want to stress something important-SNC is giving away free food! Students have the choice to participate, and if they get a card stamped for breakfast throughout the year, they get the occasional free meal out of it. Whether or not you are healthy and believe in SNC’s purpose, free food is always welcome in my opinion! Keep in mind that this is a brand new coalition, and I suspect larger initiatives will occur later on.
    – I couldn’t stifle a laugh over the introductory statistic during the WRC presentation. It was something along the lines that ASU and U of A were ranked at the bottom of colleges in the extent of their knowledge on sexual health.

  3. A. Hill said, on 4 December 2008 at 2:02 am

    but to listen to one of my peers lecture about “substituting that coffee for a juice” is especially grating (you’ll get my coffee the same way you’ll get my gun).

    Word. Juice has practically no nutritional value anyway (sorry white people).

  4. Evan Lisull said, on 4 December 2008 at 8:41 am

    “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.”
    -Robert Heinlein

    Or, for that matter, a free breakfast. Ultimately, the food that is given away will have to be paid for. I’m assuming that the cost will come from the SAF, ultimately, thus not really making the program really that free at all.

    More troubling is how underwhelming the program is. Knowing the habits of college students, it’s going to take a lot more than a punch card to change their habits, and to get them out of bed at that ungodly hour. Off the top of my head, you could try reallocating, or even adding, a “discount period” like the Wednesday discount days. From 7-9 AM, certain products would be 25-50% off.

    Ultimately, there’s still a widespread perception that food on campus is significantly overpriced — a perception that isn’t going to be helped by the new Cellar restaurant. There was definitely a time when healthy options on campus were few and far between; but with IQ, Core, and now the Cellar (not to mention the multitudinous options at the other restaurants), I suspect that healthy options are not the priority that they once were.


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