Stop taking advantage of those who care

Photo by Brenda Lin

While I may be involved in a lot, the Institute’s mental health initiative encourages me to practice self-care. No matter how much stepping back from some of the myriad of causes I want to work on pains me, I know that there will be an equally as committed and competent student there to fill my shoes, who will come with the added bonus of having more time to devote to the cause.

Unfortunately, the same luxury is not afforded to professional staff members at Tech. A combination of understaffing and a lack of motivation plague many departments on this campus. While one would think that these problems would manifest in a drop of productivity, goals are still being met. This isn’t because I’m talking about a fictitious problem, but rather because of a few dedicated staff members who go above and beyond for the causes they care about.

Take for example my advisor. She’s a wonderfully sweet woman who I’m sure is incredibly smart. Over the years, however, she seems to have lost touch with how to be an advisor, suggesting students take impossible class loads, failing to prepare students for grad school, and still not recognizing my face even after 3 plus years. I have yet to meet a student who has faith in her advising abilities, so why then is she still an advisor?

The answer lies in the care and commitment of the other advisors. Rather than watching students fail, they step up to the plate and take on extra students from outside their assigned range.

Outside of academics, a lot of other on campus departments suffer from understaffing, not a lack of initiative. Groups like VOICE and the Student Organization Finance Office (SOFO) provide invaluable services to the student body. Ask anyone who utilizes these departments, and they would rave about their wonderful interactions and experiences with these groups and their exceptionally considerate staff.

On the surface, these groups are functioning smoothly. The feedback they’re getting is great, but I know better. I know that the head accountant of SOFO spends close to twenty extra hours a week working on student accounts and has taken on an even greater work load with the transition of sports clubs’ accounts from the CRC to SOFO. I know that when I’m leaving the Flag Building late at night, I see the VOICE advisors still working hard, trying to deal with programming, support, and emergency response.

I see these problems, so why doesn’t the administration? Tech is taking advantage of their hardest working staff members, putting them in a catch-22 of caring for their cause or caring for themselves. What happens when those staff members burn out? What happens when a person who was doing the work of two leaves? Will it take sexual violence victims not getting support, organization accounts crashing, and students failing for Tech to make a change?

Just as Tech is so vested in protecting both the mental and physical health of their students, they should be just as concerned about that of their staff. Stop funding the people who aren’t doing their job and hire additional help for those who are overworking just to keep students safe.

Ninh, Melanie, Lee, the majority of the Biology advisors, while it may not mean much, I see how hard you’re working, and I want to say thank you. What you’re doing is appreciated, even if the others at Tech fail to recognize it.