What change do we want to see from Tech in 2024?
From the building of the EcoCommons to alterations in housing procedures to COVID-19 practices, change truly has been the most notable element of the past few years. As this issue marks the first issue of 2024, we at the Technique wish to address some of the changes we wish to see at the Institute in the upcoming year.
Although Tech has continued expanding and accepting more, one issue has been expanding inclusivity and access to the Institute. The expansion of class size has been attributed to expansion of access to Tech’s education. However, racial diversity is continually lacking. In a city with an almost 48% Black population, only 8% of Tech’s population is Black. It is imperative that Tech expands recruiting from high schools and gears that recruiting towards underclassmen to encourage getting on the right trajectory to be competitive students during the college admissions process. Recruiting alone does not contribute to this issue. Even the traditions of the Institute themselves lack inclusivity. The T-Book, for example, tends to boast photos of white male students from the early days of the Institute.
These traditions may be an important aspect of life at Tech, but other practices, memorials and occasions do not receive the same treatment. The Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service was not an event that was well-advertised or well-known around campus. Important events such as this one are not given the same respect and emphasis as events such as Freshman Cake Race. Organizations like the Student Government Organization (SGA) must do their part to emphasize the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) portion of their work. Since little has been done in the past outside of existing DEI efforts, SGA must work to place more emphasis on students of color and showcase how they are an important part of the narrative at Tech.
However, the burden of improvement cannot be placed on SGA alone. Student organizations are forced to rely heavily on SGA funding policies. While leaders are in charge of their organization’s money, they do not even get to see their own bank accounts, which puts undue stress on leaders. At other universities, organizations such as engineering/building-driven organizations, which require tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding, are able to lean on their colleges to give them funding. If the college of engineering was able to fund these large organizations, then smaller, college-unaffiliated organizations could be encouraged to grow. At present, students and organizations are forced to pull from extremely inefficient pools, pools that are drying out early on in the year. SGA should receive more institutional support via support from individual colleges, but the trend must be broken through schools like the College of Engineering and the College of Computing.
Tech’s heavy emphasis on computer science and engineering can also sometimes take away from other great schools with great accomplishments. While we advertise and celebrate STEM aspects, we tend to ignore the Institute’s other successful involvements. Going forward, the Institute must showcase diversity and accomplishments in all fields. Additionally, non-STEM schools often lack acknowledgement from administration. For example, the computer science career fair is at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, while there is a much smaller and less known career fair for Industrial Design. The College of Design lacks funding even for materials such as poster boards and students taking certain classes are expected to pay for their own Adobe subscriptions.
There is no doubt that the Institute has money and support, but students do not see where it goes. With such high tuition and fees that students are paying, giving more money back to the students via resources is necessary. Tech certainly has the means and interest in improving the lives of its students and organizations. Students are more willing than ever to lend a hand in thinking of ideas and ways to optimize the inner workings of certain aspects of Tech. The right people just have to be willing to listen.
The Consensus Opinion reflects the majority opinion of the Editorial Board of the Technique, but not necessarily the opinions of individual editors.