College students deserve to have their voice heard on how the institution they attend is run. Due to the high tuition rates and the amount of time students spend living on-campus, it is imperative the administration takes students’ concerns seriously.
In order for students at Geneseo to have a platform to discuss such issues, the Student Association created Geneseo Speaks in February 2017. Geneseo Speaks is a website where “students can submit petitions for the student government to address,” according to an article in The Lamron published on April 6 2017.
While Geneseo Speaks has incredible potential to evoke change on this campus, it seems that students are not taking full advantage of this platform. Geneseo Speaks first struggled with increasing usage, but the issue now is the severity of the concerns posted by students.
Some of the petitions with the most signatures are “Bring back sweet potatoes and garlic to fusion,” “Lower the heat in dorms” and “Microwave Popcorn in Vending Machines,” according to Geneseo Speaks.
Grievances about campus and residence life are valid; however, these issues should currently not be the most pressing or the most popular on this website.
Former SA President Michael Baranowski said of Geneseo Speaks, “It’s supposed to centralize advocacy for students, which they can turn to and where they can start to rely on their student government. It can be anything that students want it to be,” according to The Lamron.
While Geneseo Speaks has been effective in many ways and provides an outlet for students, it is necessary that Geneseo attendees don’t take this opportunity for granted. Geneseo Speaks can be whatever we like it to be, but it should be used for more than just changes to vending machine options or arbitrary demands that cannot be quantified or met.
That being said, when serious issues are brought to Geneseo Speaks, it appears that action is taken. The student body has seen the effects of Geneseo Speaks and how it can have a positive influence on this campus.
For example, a petition for a 24-hour library received 205 signatures and the petition was responded to 24 days ago, according to the Geneseo Speaks website. The response on the Geneseo Speaks website claimed that “The Student Senate recognizes the concerns surrounding the lack of study spaces on campus, specifically 24 hour study spaces. The Student Senate is still working towards 24 hour access to Milne Library, but this is a long and bureaucratic process.”
In resolution SA made a compromise to open “Bailey Hall as a 24 Hour Study Space from 9 a.m. Sunday to 9 p.m. Friday and resume regular hours on weekends,” according to the Geneseo Speaks website.
When writing and signing petitions, however, students must keep in mind that this platform is a privilege. Additionally, Geneseo Speaks should only be used for genuine concerns and problems that can be solved. Furthermore, when posting petitions on Geneseo Speaks, students need to consider whether Student Association is the correct group to be solving that problem.
The Geneseo Speaks platform is a benefit that not every college student has access to and it is important we understand the magnitude of these petitions. Improvements have been made to the Geneseo campus due to Geneseo Speaks and helping it remain a credible and active source of modification is essential to us and future students.
Students must think about the severity of petitions and only post legitimate and solvable concerns. While it is positive students are active on Geneseo Speaks, the quality and validity of petitions is much more useful than the number of petitions.