Editorial: Missing the Mark


Each year Webster University’s student leaders present their top five issues and concerns to the administration. The Delegate’s Agenda is a great tradition that allows students to draw direct attention and feedback from President Stroble and her administrative crew. This past Friday, organization leaders at the Officer’s Summit chose this year’s issues — Sustainability, Transportation Task Force, Integration of the Conservatory of Theatre Arts, Dissemination of Information and Dining Issues.
The Journal is always supportive of students’ voices being heard. The purpose of the university is to serve the students, and Delegate’s Agenda has proven it does that with changes such as extended hours in the library and the Dining Advisory Board. But, The Journal wonders if student leaders may have missed the mark with this year’s list of concerns.
Sustainability is a noble cause, one The Journal supports on a regular basis by recycling. In the past, Delegate’s Agenda has pitched the idea of a full-time Sustainability Coordinator on campus, a person to lead the environmental efforts of the university. Wind energy may be too radical a change, and too costly, for Webster’s administration to explore.
Parking has again reared its head as an ugly issue on campus. Students will present the case for a transportation task force, which would create a shuttle between the nearest MetroLink station and Webster. The Journal applauds promoting carpooling and getting cars off campus, but knows that many of the officers at the officer’s summit are traditional students who live on campus. We wonder if this is a practical solution to the parking problem.
The issue The Journal finds most inappropriate is the integration of the Conservatory students. Webster prides itself on being a welcoming and open community — we shouldn’t change that by forcing performing arts students to spend more time with what certain students deemed as the “rest of us.” Besides, how often do these “regular” Webster students attempt to support the Conservatory students by attending their shows?
The Journal sees a simple solution for smoothing over the dissemination of information at Webster. Read the weekly student newspaper, available on newsstands Wednesday afternoons. We have a calendar on our website, websterjournal.com, that lists upcoming campus events. The Journal is always open to advertisements from organizations and would love for clubs and departments to pitch their story ideas to us anytime.
As for dining issues, frankly The Journal is getting tired of seeing students on campus complaining about needing healthy food. In the past, when The Journal has written about needing nutritious food on campus, we have been informed that dining facilities stock and sell what the students really want — chicken wings, pizza and French fries. And with a relatively small amount of residential students, past efforts to keep dining facilities open late have failed (ask any of the workers in the Kaldi’s café in the library.)
Hopefully at the Delegate’s Agenda, presenters will have well-formed, well-researched and strong arguments to present to Stroble and the vice presidents. After reading the initial list, The Journal is skeptical, but hopes the organization leaders at Webster prove us wrong.

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  1. This year’s Delegate’s Agenda topics are some of the best I have seen. Quite frankly, I am disappointed in The Journal for oversimplifying the topics once again.
    Yes, sustainability has been brought up many times through topics such as recycling and hiring a sustainability coordinator. These are tactics. This year is different because we are asking the University to create a Climate Action Plan including increasing energy efficiency to reduce overall demand while simultaneously increasing the amount of energy we get from renewable sources. This plan would also include smaller tactics to reduce our collective environmental impact such as recycling efforts, rain gardens, composting, etc. The difference this year is that students are not asking for a tactic, we are asking for a commitment and a plan with a goal.
    As an experienced presenter, I warn the Journal against advising that the topics not be “too radical” or “too costly.” At a time when the university is creating a new Master Plan, any and all options should be considered. It is the students’ job to make a big ask.
    As to the next topic, the Journal again oversimplified. The point of the transportation task force is to re-imagine parking, explore expanding public transit options, and incentivize students to bike or walk. Many of the students presenting this year have been both residents and commuters making us more aware of both sides of the issue.
    The issue with the integration of the Conservatory is not about forcing “them” to hang out with “us” or vice-verse. It’s about creating more opportunities in their busy schedule for Conservatory students to become more involved in student organizations and be able to get work-study jobs outside the Conservatory.
    The Journal cannot solely answer the issue of dissemination of information. This newspaper has limited space and has a reputation for not only oversimplifying but also for rampantly misquoting. Perhaps if the Journal improved its reputation for quality more people would look to it for accurate information.
    The issue of improved dining services keeps coming up on Delegate’s Agenda because it has yet to be truly addressed. Sodexo leadership has a reputation for avoiding students with concerns and Dining Advisory Board often gets caught up in small projects. Improvements to nutrition, real vegetarian and vegan options, knowing the ingredients and source of our food, and getting more organic and local options is very important to the health of our student body. While students may like pizza and wings, it’s important to give them real nutritious food as well to choose from. Perhaps we will see preferences switch.
    The issues brought up and the presenters who volunteered this year promise to make it a Delegate’s Agenda to remember. We sincerely hope that the Journal will accurately report on the presentations and the response.

  2. I don’t know about anyone else but I sure don’t find Kaldi’s food very fulfilling and would not be my choice for dinner after I get out of an exhausting 4 hours of night class. This issue has already been addressed and the solution was to extend Marletto’s hours until 11pm, this way students can actually eat real food when they get out of class.

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