I am writing to rebuke several claims of an opinions article, entitled “VSU events running on empty”, within the April 19th edition of the Spectator. As Reservations Coordinator of the Student Union, I was surprised by the claims of the writer, as many were grossly overstated. I am concerned with the facts behind the opinions article as no one from the Student Union Reservation Office, Student Life or Event Services were contacted to check facts for the article.
Student Organizations are given ample opportunities within the Student Union and Event Services to successfully plan their event. As both reserving offices understand student organizations, and even faculty and staff at times, believe our policies to be erroneous, those policies are set in place to ensure all student organizations have ample opportunity to be successful on campus. Student Organizations are encouraged to begin planning their event well in advance to guarantee their event is successful, but while the Student Organizations can plan their events in the Student Union at least one semester in advance, Student Organizations fail to comprehend that class schedules take time to set, and must be completely verified before Student Organizations can begin reserving classroom spaces on campus; this is completely out of Event Services’ hands.
All Student Organizations are given the same opportunities when it comes to reserving spaces on campus; each reserving office has a set date in which Student Organizations may begin requesting for the following semester. While the author claims “simple student interest groups get run over by those with more power, or those with a pitiable cause”, this claim is completely invalid. All Student Organizations are treated with the same respect, regardless of their type, platform, member number, etc. While the larger groups tend to submit their requests farther in advance, it is not a testament of the treatment of the reserving offices in terms of these Student Organizations, but simply an instance in which they tend to plan farther in advance than other Student Organizations.
With regards to the campus advertisement opinions, I believe the Student Life Office has been more than accommodating to Student Organizations when approving their flyers and campus marketing tools. A Student Organization can simply visit the Student Life Office for five minutes and have a sheet sign, fliers and anything else approved. Trish Taylor in the Student Life Office, has seen it as her duty to ensure the process is clean and simple for Student Organizations seeking to market their events. At this point, the responsibility falls on the shoulders of the Student Organization to begin marketing their event in advance to ensure a successful turn out for their event.
Lastly, in regards to the reserving offices and the other parties involved in “loosening the leash”, policies are set in place not to control Student Organizations, as the author would believe, but to ensure all Student Organizations are able to be successful at VSU. I believe the Student Union and Event Services has been more than accommodating to the needs of Student Organizations, and understand where those needs stem from, as many of us have been involved in Student Organizations at VSU or are continuing to advise several Student Organizations. We allow Student Organizations to submit their event requests online, email us revisions or cancellations, call us with concerns, at the point of signing the contract, is the only time the student has to visit our offices, but it is in no way the only time we
want students to visit our offices. We encourage feedback from students and Student Organizations. If there is a more efficient way in which our offices can provide services to the Student Organizations of VSU, we all would be more than happy to listen and engage in conversation with any student. But the simple request of getting rid of a policy in which a Student Organizations does not like, is not a viable solution.
In response to the author, while I can see they have spoken to a fellow student regarding the issues they may be facing when reserving locations on campus, it would be appreciated if they would validate their facts with either the Student Union or Event Services before they attack our policies and procedures. Feeding fuel to the flame with unwarranted or false accusations is not a professional or accurate procedure to writing an article of opinion within any type of publication. I hope to hear from a writer in the future and would be more than willing to answer any questions regarding reserving policies or procedures at VSU.
Thank you for your time,
Program Coordinator-Student Life, VSU