When Hobie Webster took over as ASNMU president in April of this year, he did so with the help of the Eleven Point Pledge that he made to the students of Northern Michigan University. The pledge was to serve as a sort of roadmap for ASNMU during Webster’s time in office.
Eight months have passed since the new president was sworn in and ASNMU is visibly more active than it has been in years. But it seems that Webster’s heavily hyped pledge has proven to be less of a roadmap for ASNMU and more of a vague foundation for future activity.
In a recent interview, Webster told North Wind reporter Lucy Hough that there is only one point of the pledge — the creation of a grant-writing team — that ASNMU has not completed or is not ready to complete. When the pledge is reviewed, however, it is clear that this isn’t exactly true.
For instance, Webster wanted to “work toward making NMU a paperless campus” and says that ASNMU is now a paperless organization. But that falls short of impacting the entire campus by pushing the university and the student body to embrace a paperless lifestyle, as well. ASNMU should, at the least, actively advocate a move away from paper for the entire university community.
The pledge also called for increased study space on campus, and the hope was to focus this effort on the Hedgcock Atrium. When the university was not open to altering Hedgcock to be more study-friendly, Webster began formulating plans, with the help of NMU administrators, for a student union to serve the purpose. And while a student union is a very respectable goal, it obviously won’t be completed for years. The students who elected Webster on the strength of his pledge likely won’t even be here when a student union is completed and they need more study space now.
On the positive side, Webster has spearheaded the creation of a committee that will give NMU better representation in Lansing, and is exploring the possibility of a volunteering-based holiday on Martin Luther King Day. Under his guidance, ASNMU has launched a new Web site and is working to make the NMU Bookstore’s list of required books available to students sooner. These were all points in the pledge, as well.
And while no one, including Webster, seriously expected ASNMU to achieve all 11 goals within a single semester, there is still clear room for improvement. ASNMU should revisit the Eleven Point Pledge and refocus their efforts, finding study space for students on a paperless campus.