A first-class education at a school ranked as Top 50 in the nation, a close proximity to the beautiful beaches of Malibu, incredible study abroad programs, a tight-knit community and a strong Christian mission — these are just a few things that Pepperdine University boasts. For the most part, students say they are content with their college experiences here. However, students do take issue with things such as the scarcity of parking spots, length of cafeteria hours, convocation requirements and more.
Understandably, there are some things that students do not have the power to change. They, however, certainly have the ability to alter some situations. What can they do about those? Pepperdine invites students to get involved and to play a part in creating an impact on the campus. By contributing, students can then see the changes happen and the school improve in tangible ways.
The first and foremost problem seems to be that many students have no idea how or where to get started on proposing change.
One of the most important groups on campus that can help students push for change is none other than the Student Government Association. In the past, SGA has passed resolutions concerning various matters, such as extending library hours, adding water bottle-filling stations across campus, advocating for the creation and recognition of the Crossroads LGBTQ+ Organization and many more.
Whether it be through running for an elected position at the beginning of each school year, attending a Senate Meeting at 8 a.m. on Wednesdays in the boardroom the first floor of the TAC, speaking with their class senators, joining one of the SGA committees or contacting the members directly, students are more than welcome to reach out to SGA with any concerns or proposals for resolutions.
In terms of issues regarding policies related to the Student Code of Conduct, students can contact the responsible department(s), which are listed under “Policy Contact” at the end of each policy, to give feedback or suggestions directly as well.
“Engaging students in policy review and proposals is critically important, because it helps the administration develop policies that are clear to students and promotes shared ownership of the policies,” Mark Davis, dean of Students, wrote in an email. “As an educational institution, it’s good to approach our policies from the standpoint of learning from each other and being open to changes that are based on research and best practices.”
Examples of policies that Pepperdine created or modified in collaboration with various groups of students include the formals policy, discrimination and harassment policy, hazing policy, Good Samaritan policy and many more.
“I’ve seen students come and take big risks that were so good that we couldn’t not enact them — Waves of Flags is an example of that. It was so good and so right for us following 9/11, and we’ve always done it ever since,” President Andrew K. Benton said. “At the end of the day, there’s no reason for Pepperdine not to support good student ideas.”
With these tools and resources available, the University encourages students to be a part of policymaking, bring good changes and improvements to the campus, and take ownership in them along with the administration as well.
The keys are to “start early, have good ideas, frame them up well, have as many implications as you possibly can, and then find out who you can share that with productively,” Benton said.
With whatever it is that students want to change or improve, now is the time to stop standing by and start taking action.
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