Hollywood and Pinson Focus on CommunicationBy Sarah Y. Keightley
John S. Hollywood '96 and Jennifer A. Pinson '98 could be on a "world tour" stopping at your living group next fall.
If elected Undergraduate Association president and vice president in next week's elections, the team plans to go on tour to improve communication between the student body and the administration, Hollywood and Pinson said.
The two main goals of the team are to serve as a bridge for communication between undergraduates and the administration and to restructure the UA, Hollywood said.
"The job of the UA is to act as a representative of the student body to MIT agencies," Hollywood said. Held next fall, the "world tour" would send UA representatives to living groups to ask students what they think about MIT and what things they would like to be changed.
We would then lobby for that change, Hollywood and Pinson said.
Communication between the students and the administration is needed, since currently there is "no means of communication between the two except for [through] a few selective individuals," Pinson said.
Another way to keep students informed is to use UA advertisements in The Tech for regular bulletins, rather than for publicity, Pinson said. For example, information on the search for the new dean for undergraduate education and student affairs could be provided to students, she said.
UA needs restructuring
To realize the team's other main goal, restructuring the UA, Hollywood said he would like to "make it much more informal, like a service organization."
Hollywood said streamlining committees and cutting budget excesses are among the team's ideas for improving the organization.
"A lot of the committees are pretty much extraneous," Hollywood said. Several current committees could be merged into one committee, he said.
As for cutting the budget, the team hopes to save money by doing away with the UA copying machine, the UA Athena contract, and the refreshments at council meetings.
"With all the streamlining and reduction of some of the budget excesses, you would have a lot more capital left over for doing more effective and helpful things for the undergraduate student body," Pinson said.
This budget reduction could save several thousand dollars, Hollywood said.
Actively involving students
Hollywood said that a professor's remarks to him during his freshman year prompted his interest in student government. The professor had spoken of how the students and the administration are separated, and how the administration is made up of two kinds of people: those who care about students and those who care about their jobs and reputations, Hollywood said.
The conversation helped Hollywood decide that he wanted to "see the students actively involved in running MIT - at least the parts of MIT that affect students." Past issues that could have used more student involvement include the Physics I (8.01) revisions and the Strategic Housing Planning Committee's work, he said.
To show that students can be involved in "running MIT," Hollywood summarized some of the results of his UA committee's report on housing. The report recommended renovations for certain dormitories, and now Senior House and Baker House are scheduled to be done soon, he said. The report concluded that students wanted to be more informed when requesting dormitory transfers, and now Residence and Campus Activities is working to improve their communication with rooming chairs, he said.
Another result of the housing report is that the booklet on undergraduate residence life which is mailed to the freshmen before they come will now include more information on rush, Hollywood said.
"All these were things students were heavily involved with," Hollywood said.
Hollywood's past experience with the UA includes serving as the current chair of the Committee on Student Life, the chair of the Committee on Housing and Residence and Orientation last year, and a representative for his living group before that.
Pinson is a member of the Committee on Student Life.