For the first time in its history, AU’s Board of Trustees held an open dinner in Bender Library’s Mudbox last week. In this admirable display of transparency, students were invited to discuss issues facing AU with the individuals who can actually implement solutions.
This transparency was not a one-time event either, as an open forum with the Trustees is scheduled for Monday at 5 p.m. Should promising events like this continue to be held, the Board of Trustees has the opportunity to integrate AU together as a closer community.
The Eagle hopes that the Board of Trustees earnestly listened to student concerns at this event, as opposed to simply using it as a perfunctory gesture. While it did take our student trustee Seth Cutter to instigate plans for these events, it is encouraging that his fellow trustees embraced his suggestions.
Initial reports seem to indicate that this open dinner accomplished its preliminary goal: producing some significant dialogue between students and the administration. Numerous topics were discussed, including CERF, volunteer opportunities and the general sustainability of our school. Even though specific solutions to these concerns were not raised, these discussions should serve as an important first step in the process of tailoring the practices of AU to its students.
Ironically, one subject discussed was AU’s apparent lack of student engagement within the university community. Although the Mudbox was filled with students eager to meet with their trustees, the fact of the matter is that there is often a tangible sense of indifference among AU students concerning the actual happenings of our university. To be sure, recent events have demonstrated that when provoked, AU students can passionately voice their beliefs. However, a consistent output of this vigor is needed if the Board of Trustees is to comprehend the collective views of the AU student body.
Moving forward, we encourage everyone to attend the Trustees’ open forum in Ward 2 this Monday. If the Trustees are to get an accurate impression of student views, a wide sample of students must be present. Nevertheless, this diversity of opinion cannot be achieved if we demonstrate an apathetic attitude toward the administration’s attempts to gauge our opinions.
The continual search for AU’s identity requires effort from both sides of the spectrum. Administrators must show genuine interest in the desires of the students they manage. To their credit, the Board of Trustees has begun to demonstrate this awareness through their open dinner and open forum. Now, it is our turn as students to take advantage of this opportunity to voice our concerns.