Wandering among the hundreds of tables, with overly eager upperclassmen handing me freebies on a hazy late-summer afternoon during Welcome Week, I received fliers from almost every organization on campus. A couple months later, while shuffling through my desk stuffed with notebooks and useless course packs, I surprisingly came upon a bundle of these multi-colored papers held together with a rusted paperclip.
That night at dinner my friends and I flipped through some of the cheesy fliers. Determined not to have homework control our lives any longer, we made it our goal to join at least two clubs.
Yet after a couple meetings, there wasn’t a single organization that fit just what we wanted, so we decided to start our own instead. Easy, right? At least it seemed that way, before I realized just how much paperwork I’d be filling out (more than it took to apply to MSU, I can tell you that) and how many people I would have to get through before this little idea could hold its first official meeting.
[stulife] Naively, that frigid Monday morning, I set out for 101 Student Services Building, office of the Department of Student Life (DSL). There I expected to receive all the paperwork necessary for this wicked cool new club. Too bad it didn’t turn out that way. Not only did the office seem too busy to pay me any heed, despite a serious lack of people within 25 feet of the door, but all I was told was to look everything up on their Web site.
Online, the information was unclear and practically useless. Three distinct sites all conveyed the same roundabout directions on how to register a club. After reading one Web site a couple times over, I finally realized in order to register a student organization, I needed four things: a constitution, a minimum of four MSU students, an adviser and an adviser-signed Student Organization Registration form. This required my returning to 101 Student Services Building where, this time, I got my hands on a copy of the registration form. One has to wonder why they weren’t able to just give me a copy in the first place.
When I asked the secretaries there about the club constitution which, according to DSL, is necessary for all MSU-approved clubs, I was told they were not familiar with the constitution process, and I would do better contacting another member of their department. And I would have done so, but somehow they couldn’t tell me the name of the person and so I left, more confused than ever.
Already frustrated, I still had no idea about the difficult journey ahead. Days later, after finally filling out the form, finding an adviser and having the adviser sign the form, I returned to 101 Student Services to turn in the papers. I was told it would take between three and five days before I would receive an e-mail telling me to return to 101 Student Services and pick up the forms; at that point, the organization would be approved.
When, after a week-and-a-half, I still hadn’t received any e-mails from DSL, I called the department demanding an explanation. Still, nobody would answer my questions; I was simply transferred from one line to another before I finally hung up. A couple days later, upon finally receiving the e-mail, I sprinted to 101 Student Services, now for the third time, to pick up the approved forms.
[laquote] The next step, of course, was setting up the first official club meeting. By this time, we had accumulated so many interested students there was no way for all of us to fit in a dorm room; a classroom was the only other choice. However, since the room wasn’t available during the week, we had to hold our meetings on Sunday nights. This involved going back to 101 Student Services to pick up the Activity Planning form. The only problem was we had to have submitted the form one week prior to the beginning of the semester with a list of all scheduled meetings for that semester. Even though midterms had already rolled around, the club wanted to meet on the weekend, so a separate form had to be turned in a whole month before the beginning of the semester. I turned in some combination of forms at the Student Activities Office anyway, only to find out, because our meetings were scheduled at night, after building hours, I had to fill out a Physical Plant request form as well.
Upon arriving at the Physical Plant Building (PPB), the most logical place to go, I was told the form was supposed to be turned in there, but no blank forms were available. When I asked where I could pick one up, I was once again told by the secretary that blank forms were not something she knew about. This made no sense at all; any logical department would provide blank forms at the office at which they were supposed to be turned in.
By this point, I was ready to give up; but how could I let down all those people who wanted to be in the club? And so the trek went on and on. I must say, by the time the first meeting rolled around, I had visited more buildings and talked to more staff members than probably any 10-student combination on campus. To name a few, 360 Administration Building, 216 MSU Union, Office of University Licensing Programs, the Student Life Center and 305 Computer Center are places I became rather familiar with during this endeavor. And this, of course, does not include the university financial account issues that arose. I wish I knew why MSU has made a process as seemingly simple as starting a club so complicated.
The bureaucracy at MSU makes any small task a semester-long test of “survival of the fittest.” Not only do departments not know anything about any other department; many have no idea what’s going on within their own. Obviously, MSU is a large university requiring numerous offices, but in order for the university to move forward in providing better education for all its students, these branches have to work together. A certain level of communication must be maintained between any two departments so students are not running all over campus only to get a form to be turned in on the other side.
L.A., as your administration continues various campus-altering programs, like the 2020 plan, I beg you to keep in mind that in order for the university body to function, each limb, each department, must be in direct communication with all others or else the whole body falls apart. You may have big dreams to improve MSU, but unless it starts from within by fixing the complicated bureaucracy, nothing will change.
Beyond X. Asperated

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