In light of Homecoming activities, it is clear that the College of William and Mary’s Undergraduate Council did not accomplish its job of acting as an informative liaison for the student body. Although Homecoming was an overall success, turnout for events such as the pep rally and the parade were hurt by the Council’s lack of communication and involvement.
Homecoming is the third-largest event that the Undergraduate Council works on during the school year; it is only slightly smaller than the senior class gift initiative and organizing the King and Queen’s Ball. The Council collaborates with the Alumni Association for Homecoming, but this year the Alumni Association took on the majority of planning for the sprawl of events. Although the Alumni Association geared most of its efforts toward alumni turnout, this isn’t an excuse for the lack of communication to the students about the time and place of Homecoming events. Senior Class President Joe Foster ’15 may be the only direct line between the Alumni Association and the student body, but she is not solely responsible for conveying every piece of information to the entire undergraduate student body. The members of the Undergraduate Council are elected for that purpose and this time they failed to step up.
It is concerning that a job that could have been accomplished with a simple email from each class representative became such a communication failure. We have yet to see any serious issues arise from the Undergraduate Council’s actions, or lack thereof. However, this small problem, which could have easily been mitigated, is an indicator of potential future problems, including more serious issues which simply have not been brought to the student body’s attention. If the Undergraduate Council could not manage to do something as simple as communicating when and where certain Homecoming activities were taking place, it is not hard to imagine that problems will arise when it is dealing with more complicated responsibilities.
Also concerning is the Undergraduate Council’s lack of involvement with Homecoming in the first place – a probable source of this communication failure. Undergraduate Council chairman Giorgio Caterini ’17 expressed disappointment with the lack of Council members who came to the parade. As members elected to a council that specifically plans this event, their lack of involvement is unacceptable they can, at the very least, play nice for two hours and attend the event they’ve planned. By not going to the parade, Council members not only showed disinterest in an event for which they seek to promote turnout, but also became inaccessible to the student body for informational purposes.
Going forward, these problems can be easily fixed. The Undergraduate Council needs to increase its efforts in distributing information to the student body. As an elected body, the Council should be expected to fill the gap between all types of communications with students, whether that is between the Alumni Association, the administration or any other involved group. This can be as simple as sending out informative emails.
Moreover, it should be held accountable for not doing so, as in the case of Homecoming. The Council cannot just step backward and allow the Alumni Association to take off running with Homecoming preparations and not attempt to follow suit. Both organizations should be working together so alumni and students alike receive the same information about events. The Council also needs to lead by example and have its members show interest and involvement in the events it plans. Otherwise, it has no reason to expect good turnout from the general student body.
It has been proposed before that the Undergraduate Council be disbanded due to its members’ lack of direction and its lack of efficiency, and this Homecoming attests to such suggestions. If the Council is to maintain any sort of recognition, it needs to correct these issues.