Students took to Twitter to celebrate the addition of a March holiday to the BYU academic calendar beginning in 2017. It’s no extended spring break, but students will take it.
“It’s pretty awesome,” Justin Schwendiman, a mechanical engineering major, said. “I like the idea of a little break, because it’s a good breath of fresh air, without losing too much focus or momentum with school.”
Graduating students lamented that they won’t benefit from the calendar change — administrators say the current academic calendar couldn’t be adjusted to fit in the holiday this year — but continuing students are grateful for the short break.
“I like the idea of a one-day break, because if we have a longer break it means that the semester will go longer,” Melanie Ellsworth, an accounting major, said.
Currently students go from President’s Day in February until finals in April without a weekday off from classes. For years students have rallied for a spring break similar to those at other schools. Some BYU students may view the new spring holiday as an excuse to take long road trips. BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins addressed the possible safety issue behind trying to fit complicated travel plans into this short holiday.
“We want students to be wise in making decisions about leaving the area during this spring holiday,” Jenkins said. “It’s not an extended break, so we don’t want students to stress themselves out by trying to fit a 14-hour drive into this holiday.”
Student reactions on Twitter to the calendar changed ranged from positive to negative.
“I don’t think one day makes much of a big difference,” Jarom Shaver, a public relations major said. “But at least it’s a Friday, so we can have a long weekend.”
“I’m grateful,” BYU student Audrey Shumway said. “One day without classes is always better than one day with classes.”
Many students wished the break were longer but Jenkins said an extended spring break at BYU during winter semester isn’t possible.
“We have a tight schedule with winter semester, spring and summer terms and education week, so there’s really no room for an extended spring break,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins said although BYU students do not have a typical spring break from classes, the relatively early end to the winter semester has its benefits.
“We have found that because our students finish winter semester earlier than most other schools, they get a jump on jobs and internships,” Jenkins said. “Our students get to start their jobs and internships in May instead of June, and we’ve definitely seen the advantages to that.”
The calendar change was proposed by the faculty advisory committee and sent to BYU students in an email by University Communications on Wednesday, Jan.13. The spring holiday will begin on the third Friday in March 2017.
“This was a decision made by the faculty advisory committee to give the students an extra day during the winter semester to recharge and de-stress,” Jenkins said.
The email included the following statement from BYU Academic Vice President Brent Webb: “The new spring holiday was proposed by the Faculty Advisory Committee because they understand that a day off during winter semester would benefit the students.”
Campus News Manager Emily Hellewell explained the role of the faculty advisory committee in the proposal of the new spring holiday.
“The faculty advisory committee works with BYU administration to ensure that the university has a good environment for students and faculty,” Hellewell said. “This spring holiday is part of that effort to create a positive environment.”