Learn about the issues of your school

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Screen Shot 2015-10-25 at 4.47.01 PMYou gotta serve somebody. Bob Dylan’s famous lyrics are blunt, but accurate.

There is a pecking order. People have power over the direction of your life.

Here at UVM, those people are all around you — friends, professors, administrators and a group of people, many of whom students have never met, called trustees.

These people have great power over the University and its dealings. They have great power over you.

It’s unfortunate, then, that students rarely show up to the board of trustees meetings to see firsthand what, and how, they decide policies, costs, and projects that will affect you and your future. 

The Cynic has opined about this before and it will continue to do so in the future.

Before the meeting, the board releases a massive document — 215 pages this year — filled with details of issues they will have to take action on this coming weekend.

The issues we highlight here are by no means exhaustive. The entire document is available online and we’ll link to it in the online version of this editorial. Some of the issues:

After the University finalized the sale of the Ethan Allen apartments — colonial-style housing in Colchester popular among graduate students — the graduate student senate seems to have had enough.

In his address, GSS President Devin Champagne will speak about the feeling among graduate students that recent administrative decisions harm the community.

He will also speak about how the low base-stipend for graduate student teaching assistants — $24,000 — coupled with the increased commitments graduate students have, such as part-time jobs and families, can easily cause housing hardships and end up threatening the appeal of UVM for graduate education.

The board will also be asked to approve a minor in sports management in the Rubenstein school.

The faculty senate believes they can interest around 40 students in the program, and they say that the field is growing and is a good opportunity for those who are interested.

Converse Hall, built in 1894, is in need of about $2 million in repairs. A committee of the board with hear about the problems with the building, which are mostly external, and then vote to approve or deny the project.

Summer tuition may rise moderately in cost. This past summer, tuition for an in-state student was $424 per credit-hour, which may raise to $428.

For out-of-state, the raise would be from $1,056 to $1,081 per credit-hour.

The College of Engineering and Mathematical sciences is also collaborating with the College of Medicine to create a Biomedical Engineering major, though it’s still under review and won’t be decided at the meeting this weekend.

Both Provost David Rosowsky and SGA President Jason Maulucci are making academic advising a central part of their initiatives.

Maulucci is pushing for a system of student advisers, trained and paid by SGA, to help students in need of advising assistance.

These advisers would be matched with students who are on similar tracks as their advisers.

For example, an adviser who was at one point an undecided major would be matched up with a current undecided major.

A central advising center is important for both Rosowsky and Maulucci.

Rosowsky hopes to have the advising center in the Davis Center by 2016.

Mara Saule, chief information officer and dean of libraries will talk about initiatives in the digital world of UVM.

The University will soon develop a policy for drone use on campus, with a particular focus on giving geospatial mapping researchers some guidelines.

Blackboard will be getting a review to see if it’s still working for the university.

A lot can happen this weekend. Powerful people from all over the university will be convening to decide the fate of your education.

Show them you care by showing up to board of trustees meetings on both Friday and Saturday.

Take advantage of being able to learn about the issues that are important to you and how the decisions of this board will impact your academic career.