Options classes undergo huge cuts

Photo by Amanda Thomas / A student demonstrates wheel thrown pottery, one of the 60+ options classes previously offered by the SCPC before cuts.

Faced with waning student registration and organizational problems, the Student Center Programs Council (SCPC) has greatly scaled back the number of classes offered as part of its Options Program.

Started in the 1970s with a graduate student wanting to share his hobbies with others, the options classes have offered Tech students activities ranging from salsa dancing to photography. As early as last year, the program offered over 50 courses per semester. With the new changes taking effect this year, however, only about seven to ten classes will be offered.

“The popularity of the program just wasn’t there anymore,” said Sourjya Rudra, President of the Student Center Programs Council. “Some of the classes weren’t even able to get started because there weren’t enough people signed up for [them].”

The dramatic shift comes after a report released by the Student Center Programs Office assessing the Options Program. Among other things, the report cites falling student interest in leading the programs, declining registration and organizational problems with the program. As a result of the report, the classes will now be marketed individually just like any other SCPC event.

“Although online registration is now offered to students, faculty and staff, community members are not able to take advantage of the platform,” the report said. “In addition, student interest in leading the program has steadily waned and registration continues to decline.”

One proposed reason behind the decrease in registration is the rise in extracurricular clubs and organizations.

“We realized that for a lot of our classes, there were student organizations that did the exact same thing,” Rudra said.

Another issue has been the marketing of the program. The report asserts that “the Options Committee has yet to be able to build the momentum needed to establish an extensive marketing strategy to increase awareness of the Program among the campus and community.”