Staff editorial: Low turnout at building presentation discouraging

Story by The Spectator Staff

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Posted: 10:53 p.m. 2/28/2010

It’s surprising that a 30-minute presentation Tuesday regarding the preliminary design plans for a new education program on campus at UW-Eau Claire garnered such a small turnout.

The Leader-Telegram reports that three male students and one man composed the audience, with no one asking a question about the design. With education being one of the largest programs at UW-Eau Claire, it’s discouraging that more education majors didn’t attend the presentation.

Beyond education majors, though, all students should be aware of and interested in the changes happening to their campus. Regardless of major, the construction will affect everyone on campus and all students should be aware of the university’s plans.

The blame for this surprisingly low attendance is three-fold.

The University News Bureau issued a press release highlighting the presentation, but only a few students read those articles. The College of Education, especially professors, could have done a better job of making students aware of this presentation.

Students are also to blame, since so few of them actually attended the presentation. UW-Eau Claire students have demonstrated a certain apathy toward campus issues, including the Blugold Commitment and the Council Oak tree before that. But faculty and campus administrators can only do so much to elicit student activism. The burden then falls upon the students to attend meetings and ask questions that will affect their education.

The Spectator accepts some responsibility for the low turnout, too. While it’s hard to say how effective a brief or announcement in the newspaper would have been for this meeting, it is The Spectator’s responsibility to inform students of important campus events.

Ultimately, the professors on this campus have the most clout and influence over students. They’re not obligated to make announcements of meetings like this, but they should share important information with their classes. If more of that happens, students might become more engaged and active on this campus.