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Change it, don't complain about it
Last week, I wrote a smaller opinion for the Arts & Life section of The Chronicle, “Wreck: Measuring learning with ELOs”. The article soon got a lot of attention on social media and multiple shares on Facebook. What I expressed in the article was how the process of submitting a room request, for when I need to book a meeting, through DoYouQU was a bit annoying since we have to go through and submit ELOs (Essential Learning Outcomes) during the process. ELOs are concepts students are suppose to get out of the event/meeting that you are holding. Some examples of ELOs include Creative Thinking, Responsible Citizenship, Written Communication, Scientific Literacy, etc.
At the end of the article I posed a question. “So please, inform me, why must I submit ELO’s for a meeting?” It didn’t make sense as to why I had to justify my meetings with these concepts, especially since being in an organization isn’t required by the students of QU. I was also voted into my positions, therefore, people trust me to do my job, there’s no reason to justify it through a concept.
I was contacted by Erin Twomey, the associate director of campus life & new student orientation. She asked to meet with me after reading the article to discuss ELO’s. I was not very surprised since this is her field and also due to the fact that I posed a question in hopes for it to be answered. This also presented the opportunity for me to maybe change the process of booking an event/room through DoYouQU.
Erin and I hashed it out and she explained to me why she asks us to submit ELO’s. In the simplest terms, through ELOs she is able to see what students get out of being in organizations, especially since a lot of learning in college happens outside of the classroom. After she sees what we do, she is able to go to the administration and show them how beneficial the club is and then we get more resources to make our organizations run better.
Now, this was a good reason. I told Erin how I would be more willing to fill out ELO’s if I knew it could benefit my organization. Especially since I am a huge advocate of joining clubs and getting involved and how crucial it can be to a college students experience.
But how could we make the process better? Erin and I first discussed making sure student organization leaders know why they are submitting ELO’s and Erin going to board meetings and discussing more about the process and the clubs with the students rather than doing it through a computer screen. Another thing we discussed was changing the format of the ELO’s to a clear question, rather than students racking their brains for an example of an ELO they have used before.
Now these changes may never happen, or they could happen by next year. But what I want to get across here is that if you have a problem with something, do something about it rather than just complain about it. Talk to an administrator because they want to know what problems we are having. I have the ability to be a voice to the entire QU population. Through this I am able to make a big change, or even a little change, for the student body.