September 25, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 16  

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Hope springs, but not eternal

British philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote, "It is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true."

The Orientation Strategic Planning Group released their goals, objectives and measurements yesterday to create a better Orientation Week. Interested observers could look to the release of these recommendations as a sign O-Week will ultimately change for the better. Unfortunately, recommendations don't always mean changes.

Optimism versus realism? It's the all-too-common battle to the death.

In the past the direction of O-Week was constantly changing because no long-standing structure was in place to guide it. From one year to the next, Orientation staff would decide amongst themselves what they thought prudent.

Thus, the OSPG was created as a framework to plan long term objectives for O-Week.

Included in those recommendations were pushing classes to Monday so there are no classes during O-Week; tie the price of the O-Kit to the consumer price index; decrease soph fees and the number of sophs; conduct surveys of frosh and sophs and implement the survey results; eliminate charity sophs; no room charges for activities and change the name of the Orientation Programming Committee, among others.

Unfortunately, many of these proposals are buried in the report with words like "possible," "may" and "likely." Furthermore, it's amazing to consider that the process for frosh and soph feedback never existed before. The fact the OSPG report outlines such a system is obviously good, but there's doubt as to how responsive the people in charge of O-Week will be to such feedback.

However, the immense trail of red tape leaves one to wonder if these recommendations will ever see their way to fruition. It seems logical to believe the release of a myriad of changes, by a group specifically created for the sole purpose of looking at O-Week, would start the process in motion. Alas, that's false.

And to add to the deluge, even if the proposals are approved by the OGB, the Provost is free to come yank the cord whenever it so desires.

Furthermore, why did it take almost a year for the release of an 18-page report? If it took that long just to put the pen to paper, how long will it take to implement the plan?

It would be nice to be perfectly optimistic about the OSPG's proposals the initiation of a strategy to guide O-Week is a step in the right direction. But until the fantasy becomes a reality, doubt reigns free.



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