Between social media and our generation’s addiction to our smartphones, it has become so easy for us to share every thought that runs across our minds. Thought of something funny? Post a Facebook status about it. Your professor said something ridiculous in class? Tweet about it. Not sure what to wear today? Text your best friend about it. While these forms of instant communication are definitely a luxury, they are something we should be wary of. When something happens that we don’t agree with — in politics, in the news or on campus — it’s easy to resort to ranting on social media. You’re angry, you want people to know how you feel and why you feel that way, or maybe you’re looking to start a dialogue. We see it all the time at Drexel. Rumors spread quickly on campus, and important details can be lost as information is shared verbally and online. But when it comes to important issues at Drexel, there are more productive ways to make our voices heard.
Reaching out to the administration in appropriate forms has proven to be effective over the past few months. Back in February, Facebook and Twitter were buzzing with students’ negative reactions to the possibility of switching to a semester system. Did the committee making the decision check Facebook statuses to see how the students felt? No. What they did do was read over 400 emails sent by students and faculty, most of which protested the switch. Focus groups were formed to get valuable student opinions in a constructive way. Now, seven months later and after witnessing a great deal of student opposition, the provost’s office has announced that Drexel will remain a quarter system school.
Student feedback also played a key role in the process of selecting new deans for the School of Public Health and the LeBow College of Business. Ana Diez Roux was selected as dean of the School of Public Health after students and faculty alike voiced overwhelming support for her versus the other two candidates. During a similar selection process, the chosen candidate for dean of LeBow turned down Drexel’s offer, but instead of choosing one of the other candidates who received little support from students and faculty, the University decided to restart the selection process.
The administrators at Drexel have proven multiple times in the past few months that they’re concerned with the opinions of the student body. Our voices won’t go unheard if we’re willing to put forth the time and effort to make sure we express ourselves constructively. While a sassy Facebook post directed at the Drexel administration may get you lots of likes from peers who have similar feelings, it won’t help to solve the problem.
To do so, we first must know the facts. Getting your news through the grapevine or only reading half of an email from the provost is ineffective. Spreading misconceptions to your friends and other students also will not help the situation and could create a divide of views between those who know the facts and those who don’t. To ensure you’re getting accurate information, look to campus news sources like The Triangle and Drexel Now, read emails from the administration in their entirety, and even reach out to faculty and administrators with questions. If you don’t know the truth before attacking the University, administrators will not consider your misinformed opinion, and it will reflect poorly on you as a student.
Of course, social media platforms are a nice place to vent to your peers, but it is not a sufficient course of action. If something on campus bothers you and you feel that change is necessary for the good of the student body, address it directly. You can reach out to the administration, send out a petition or do anything to open up communication. If the administration is informed that students are distressed about something, of course they will try their best to improve the situation — it’s their job. Far too often, we mistakenly think that the administration will never listen to us because of all the unresolved problems that we have come to identify collectively as the “Drexel Shaft.” The unresponsiveness to many of those problems may have been a persistent issue in the past, but the Fry administration has worked tirelessly to ensure that we are not ignored, whether it’s regarding our own problems or major decisions that the University is about to make. They’ll just never know that anyone is upset if the only place you’re venting is on your Twitter account.