By ERIC PERRY AND SHARON VARGA
A bleary-eyed freshman waits anxiously for the clock to strike midnight. As the second hand hits 12, she hurriedly dials 378-5111 and poises her finger above the first digit in her Social Security Number. Instead, a busy signal annoyingly blares back at her. Frustrated, she puts the phone on the hook and her head in her hands. It is going to be a long night trying to register.
Sound familiar? It is doubtful any student has escaped that situation or others that can make one wonder if college is really that great. As wonderful as BYU is, there will always be things to remind us it isn’t perfect and that being a student here comes with challenges. We tell ourselves, “There’s got to be a better way!”, but things rarely seem to change. It would be fair to wonder, “Does anyone care about the student perspective?”
The Student Advisory Council cares. An area of BYUSA, it is the official student voice at BYU. Similar to a student senate, the council consists of students who represent the 13 major colleges plus other special interest groups, such as multi-cultural students, international students, students of other faiths and students with disabilities.
Also known as SAC (as in sack lunch, potato sack, or quarterback sack), the council meets twice a week in open meetings to consider the student viewpoint in current campus issues. Every student on campus has a SAC representative; every student on campus should know who their representative is.
SAC representatives are students’ best advocates for ideas about improving BYU or student life. They help find the channels and resources to ensure student ideas are understood and considered by the administration. SAC representatives are listed at http://sac.byu.edu.
One way SAC works to influence university policy is by placing student representatives on more than 100 committees. Many important decisions about campus are made by these committees. By placing students as officials, voting members on university committees, SAC is aware of campus decisions and students are allowed an important role in the decision-making process. Student committee members report regularly to SAC.
Another way the council can advise the administration is through proposals. SAC proposals are researched reports written by students about student needs. Along with survey results or background history, a SAC proposal carries possible solutions to campus issues which directly affect students. These proposals are then delivered to the appropriate administrator.
The administration values this input, and many past proposals passed by SAC still affect students today. Some of those include the extended hours at the Testing Center, the revision of the Honor Code and widening congested sidewalks during construction. Through the efforts of SAC’s “Name This Quad” campaign in September, future Cougars will refer to the new Wilkinson Student Center plaza using names chosen by the present student body.
In addition, when students this semester received their registration notices, many were elated to find a bright pink slip of paper telling them they could register at 6 p.m. instead of midnight. However, few knew that the luxury of avoiding an endless night of busy signals came in response to a SAC proposal passed last winter.
SAC is not limited to its 39 representatives. It also organizes many programs that enhance its work. The popular Wednesday SOAPBOX, President Bateman’s Q&A, held twice each year, and the 100 Hour Board are all programs SAC uses to enhance the student voice. SAC is also building a Web super-site to discuss campus issues and gather timely input from students (http://sac.byu.edu).
We encourage all students to voice their concerns and discuss issues. Such input will help make things happen. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend SAC meetings conducted twice weekly, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4 p.m. in 3290 WSC. If you have a question about SAC, would like to raise an issue for this column or have some other feedback, reach us at .