SG Commitees

SG+Commitees

Student Government Committees and their meetings are among the most useless activities we participate in. That’s quite an achievement. They tend to be tedious, quickly cobbled together by the heads (including me), and ultimately don’t enrich the lives of anyone involved, but how can they be changed to be more in line with their intention?

Committee meetings are intended to be a way for students to engage with students from other grades on a subject that is important to Parker. Unfortunately, they do not accomplish this. There are a few main areas which could be improved to bring committees towards their initial goal.

First, I have identified the most major issues: that the requirements are convoluted, there are too many committees, and people aren’t passionate about the topics. 

These problems are easily seen when contrasted with clubs. Clubs require active engagement, based on peoples’ interests and attention spans. Committees are mandatory and the google form which determines which committee students will be in is often filled in (through no fault of committee heads or the Director of Committee Affairs (DCA) with little knowledge of what the committees do. 

Club heads have to be passionate about the clubs they are leading to put in the work, often being committed club members themselves before becoming club heads. Meanwhile, committee heads are often somewhat arbitrarily elected as opposed to being appointed by other members or faculty affiliated with the committee who know them well. I personally became a committee head by running for two uncontested committees. 

Finally, committees can’t just disappear and be forgotten. They’re written into the constitution, and it’s difficult for people to amend the requirements surrounding a committee. 

So how can you fix committees? The biggest problem I see is that they don’t have to justify their existence. People will keep running to be committee heads, and committees will keep having required attendance. That’s not to suggest that all committees are useless, just that most are, and there needs to be a way for useless committees to prove their worth to the community.

Committees could be optional so that ones that don’t do anything or don’t really need committee members don’t have them, and that way they won’t be wasting people’s time. Or, my preferred method, you could make committees prove their worth by being evaluated twice a year by DCA, not just on their ability to follow their bylaws but also to execute on their platform. If they fail twice within a given period, the student body will vote on whether or not they should continue to be a committee.

Bylaws should be made less constricting, and the platform of the office holders should be a huge part of how they’re evaluated. This will encourage people to be more realistic in their platforms and to execute on what they’ve written as opposed to two events which are, more often than not, the same as what the committee does every year.

Committees have a great purpose and they could be great. It’s not even as though it would take too much work to make them great. Just a few amendments to the Student Government constitution would be enough to change the system. But it’s also up to committee members and heads in the meantime to see if they can make committees a more engaging and important part of student life.