Calendar Conflicts Irk Students

Casey Saylor, Reporter

Faculty and staff don’t make full use of the EMU events calendar, and that causes scheduling conflicts for many students.

“Everyone knows about (the calendar), but not everyone uses it,” said Director of Student Activities Darcy Brodmerkel.

This inconsistent use by event organizers results in a lack of communication between Student Activities, Campus Ministry, academic departments and other campus-wide organizations as they schedule events. Sometimes this causes them to overlap in date, time or location.

“We’re a small school, so we try to work with one another, but sometimes (overlapping) does occur,” said Brodmerkel.

Student Activities and Campus Ministry plan major events over the summer month in an effort to minimize conflict, and staffers mark the campus calendar for the upcoming semester. The calendar is available to Blackboard users on the left-hand side of the portal page.

According to Student Activities officials, the campus calendar is intended to be a final compilation of all upcoming events, allowing it to be used as a scheduling resource not only for interested participants, but other event planners.

It is the responsibility of individual departments and organizations to review the calendar as part of their scheduling process and to post their upcoming events, because no single person is in charge of organizing and updating the collection of events. The calendar receives minimal edits throughout the year as new events are scheduled.

There were multiple instances last semester when students were forced to choose between activities, especially ones run by independent clubs or programs.

Sophomore medical imaging major Emily Donovan cites the overlapping of the Honor Program’s spring trip and 2014 Relay for Life as an example of over scheduling. Although she wanted to attend the Honor program’s trip, she was already committed to participate with a Relay for Life team.

“They should talk to each other so they can plan things at different times,” Donovan said.

Sophomore Physical Therapy major Jacob Schweiger anticipated conflict when he realized that the 2014 Relay For Life, spring Honors trip, and Broadway Trip were all scheduled for the same weekend.

“I had originally signed up for the Honors trip, but nobody else chose it, so it was cancelled,” Schweiger said. “I figured the Honors Trip would get cancelled since so few people signed up, so I signed up for other things that I knew would definitely happen.”

Schweiger suggests communication between the different departments so future events can be scheduled for different weekends.

“I can’t go to both, and I should be able to,” he said.

For student athletes, attending any sort of activities on campus can be a challenge. Sophomore accounting major Alex Reyes knows that he can’t miss class, lifting or study hall, so “he just doesn’t go” to organized extracurricular activities.

“The other day there were three [extra credit] sessions,” said Reyes. “I had class and practice, and even though I wanted to receive extra credit I couldn’t.”

“There are things I’d like to do but can’t,” Reyes said. “(But) for me, it’s mostly because of sports.”

Brodmerkel suggests posing questions like “Which event will I really benefit from?” to prioritize participation when over scheduling does occur.

Brodmerkel said fall semesters usually have a better turnout at events than their spring counterparts because of high interest from new students.

For new students, these new opportunities can lead to new experiences, people and socialization skills. Student Activities calls students not only to get involved, but to take advantage of these extracurricular opportunities and then to go out and do something with it.

“College is not only about the academic side of things. If you take advantage of opportunities, they can open up a whole new world,” Brodmerkel said. “It’s all about learning and growing, personally and professionally.”

Brodmerkel says more people are beginning to utilize the online campus calendar, but she remains a strong advocate for its widespread usage.

“It’s up online so everyone knows that’s our process,” said Brodmerkel. “If more people really worked together and used that calendar, we would be able to avoid a lot of conflict.”

However, even total compliance would not solve the problem of over scheduling, says Georgia Young of Campus Ministry.

“Sometimes, there is no way to avoid overlapping,” said Young.