Recent research sheds a poor light on the popular extra-curricular activity of being a board member in a student union or organisation. When only ten years ago such student activity was greeted by staff and students alike with praise and gratitude, student boards are now condemned as being obtrusive breeding grounds for know-it-all attitudes and full of socially incompetent suck-ups, whose only way of finding a friend is by mail-order or kidnapping. "The change happened overnight," claims Ned Huggins in his doctoral dissertation The Student Union Killed My Academic Career - A Case Study Of Social Incest, "The days of greeting student actives as motivational mentors and inspirational tutors were over. Social independence and solitary drinking have replaced conformity and Tuesday night pub crawls." But what initiated this change in attitude? Huggins extrapolates from gathered data that the change originated from changed perceptions within the student body. "Students grew tired of watching the little social groups formed of board members gathering in the cafeterias and library corners, giggling like a bunch of pot heads and quoting out-of-date movies such as Monty Python's Quest for the Holy Grail and Kieslowski's Three Colors -trilogy," Huggins writes.
Anguished students give similar testimonies about board member behaviour in classrooms. "Yeah, they'd always sit front and centre, and whenever they raise their hand to comment on something, everyone knows it's just to say some funny anecdote about last weekend's after-party or something. God, I wish they'd just bleed to death the whole lot of them," says a distraught female student who wishes to remain anonymous.
The general consensus is that the boards of student organisations have become "exclusive cattle sheds of unethical values and social incest - a breeding ground for unwholesome attitudes of self-indulgence and mindless conformation," says Huggins. Far too many students claim that their interest in being a board member almost killed their academic careers. Partying and hanging with the same in crowd day after day cut short the studies of too many promising students.
When asked about these claims, not one board member wished to give a statement. One board meeting was even infiltrated by a reporter, but he had to leave before any valuable data was gathered because of the smell. No longer a smell of success, attributed to board members during the glory days, it was more like a cabbagesque-gymbaggy-deadfishy kind of smell. Judging by the lack of cooperation, it's highly probable that the board members admit to these claims and feel the need to seclude themselves even further from the healthy student environment that waits outside the door.
To battle student organisations in the hope of eventually disbanding them, a flyer campaign has been set up by various University faculties. In cooperation with authorities and concerned mothers, the last remnants of student boards should be rooted out in a year's time.
As a thought-provoking testimony, the words of young Timo Karsa echo forever in the minds of students. Karsa gave his State of the Student Union speech late September, and his words will never be forgotten: "For in this, the darkest hour of our day, a light can be seen. I say to you, my fellow students, do not throw away your chains! Do not cast down your buckets where you are! For far too long have we been exploited by student boards and their mindless dogma. I once was a stupid, disease-ridden, socially incompetent board member, but now I am a thriving student with a full life of bodily pleasures awaiting me. Raise your voices! Shout so that the walls may shake and the ground may break! Shout so that every last one of the board members is drawn from their putrid holes under the ground to be hung, drawn and quartered! Sound your barbaric racket over the rooftops of this campus! Shout NO to game nights and fancy dress parties, for they are evil! NO!" [tags]student, union[/tags]