SA’s motto good example for NIU

The Student Association’s motto for the spring semester, “Engaging Student Solutions,” is a concept NIU can adopt in its initiatives.

Experience, safety and health and sustainability will be the three “core tenants” of the SA’s goal to bring programs and initiatives to students, according to an SA news release. To begin, the SA announced Sunday at SA Senate that it will manage the Huskie Bus Line with student input. In the next couple weeks, focus groups will allow students to share their ideas for bus routes. The SA is also looking into ways for students to design the exterior of the buses through contests.

Brett Williams, SA director of Mass Transit, said student input is everything.

“Students have always been involved in the route design; this really just opens it up to everybody,” Williams said. “… We want to make this for you, because you pay for it.”

The SA boasts student input allows for the group to be transparent in the planning process for the bus routes and beyond, an idea the Northern Star Editorial Board can get behind. But, NIU has had an issue with having student representation and involvement in its initiatives, such as program prioritization.

Program prioritization is the process NIU will use to decide which programs to cut, merge or further fund. Two task forces will be assembled to take on prioritization, but not one student will participate in the task forces.

Provost Lisa Freeman said the prioritization process will take up to a year and will occur once every three to four years, meaning the task forces will need people with budget knowledge and long-range views of the university, according to a Jan. 28 Northern Star editorial.

Although students may not be able to participate in the whole process, NIU could choose active and passionate students whose input may be brief but still valuable enough to consider. Cutting student input almost completely is unacceptable.

Students: The focus groups are your chance to show the university student input is valid and important.