Students able to influence change

North Wind Staff

This week, a survey is being offered to NMU students to voice their opinions regarding the possible implementation of a smoking ban on campus. The survey is a noble effort by NMU administrators to establish a collective voice on the proposed policy change, and should be taken advantage of by students, faculty and staff whether they feel strongly about the proposal or not.

Comic Credit: Dorsey Sprouls
Comic Credit: Dorsey Sprouls

Having the ability to provide the committee in charge of this policy change with encouragement in favor of the proposal or an argument against it is a opportunity that needs to be taken advantage of — doing so may provide similar opportunities for students, faculty and staff to voice their opinions in regards to future issues.

Take, for example, the ongoing effort to rebrand NMU’s image. In a notable effort to steer the discussion toward the opinions of students, NMU student Devin Manges created an online petition to oppose the suggested slogan “Fearless Minds” in early October. And Manges’ efforts did not go unnoticed.

She was quoted in a Sunday, Nov. 3 article in the Detroit Free Press that addressed the uproar on NMU’s campus over the proposed slogan, and the petition itself has been signed 786 times to date.

While the value of paying a marketing firm to deal with logistics in the creation of NMU’s new image is certainly beneficial, what should be of concern to administrators is what the NMU community thinks of any proposed change to the university’s brand.

Likewise, the possibilities for engaging and including students in the rebranding process are truly endless, and administrators should take note of the resources available on campus for something as significant as a rebranding initiative.

Consider the potential for marketing or communication students to use their future degrees for the benefit of their university. Consider the professors who could develop projects around the rebranding of NMU, and the students who could come up with original and, above all, personal suggestions for the new image of the university they chose to attend. Those who study here, those who engage students and have constant contact with students, after all, are the ones with the best perception of what it means to be a Wildcat — of what it means to be a member of the NMU community.

The North Wind staff urges administrators to realize that resources right here on campus — the students and faculty who make Northern what it is — could, and have, provided creative and boundless suggestions for this huge step in the re-imaging of NMU. Our hope is that they move forward with the rebranding initiative in much the same way that they have with the smoking ban — by allowing students to have a voice.

And, similarly, students need to take advantage of any opportunity possible to voice their opinions. In not doing so, you undermine the possibility for truly beneficial and student-influenced change.