ASSMU: Putting the arts in liberal arts
Atlas Kulish, Section Editor
During the Jan. 24 ASSMU meeting students were greeted by a surprising announcement: beginning in the Fall 2020 semester Saint Martin’s University will be offering a new Arts curriculum, completely funded by ASSMU.
Seeing how the university is a liberal arts school, students are often surprised by the underfunded theater and art programs at the school. One student who requested to remain anonymous, said, “I came to Saint Martin’s intending to get a degree in theatrology — the study of theater, not even theater itself — as well as broaden my perspectives and learn from others in a tolerant accepting environment. Instead I found that the campus has a whole lot of liberal and not very much arts.”
ASSMU has heard multiple concerns from the student body regarding the underfunded state of artistic curricula at Saint Martin’s. The Senate’s proposed solution to the problem would be to fund the purchase of equipment which can be used by those with artistic predispositions, in order to aid their education.
The acquisitions that the Senate wishes to make started small, but are anticipated to escalate over the course of the semester as support for the program grows — and money available to ASSMU shrinks.
The first item proponents of the new program invested in was a Cricut Explore Air 2. This machine will be of great use to students looking to get their degree in paper cutting and origami. The price was a steal at only $500, and senators anticipate the new device receiving a high amount of traffic, similar to the heat press, which is already available for use, and stored in the Trautman Union Building (TUB).
Ease of access to the new curriculum is of great concern to members of the senate. So much so that one member of ASSMU, who wished to remain anonymous, said on background, “We understand that there are already a large number of similar and higher quality machines located in the Lacey Maker Space and free for students to use; however, the equipment is all in Zaverl Hall, and we think that such a location is just too far away from commuter student parking for it to be fair. Forcing the students who drive to campus to walk all the way to the dorms from the Pav just seems inequitable.”
When asked to elaborate further upon the makeup of the new curriculum they wish to institute, the same senator commented, “Designing a curriculum that works perfectly for all students is nearly impossible, so we have opted for a more self taught approach. One thing we are planning to do is purchase a TV that will be placed in the caf to advertise for the new courses.” The television in question was a $500 purchase approved during the Jan. 30 ASSMU meeting.
Upon hearing the news that ASSMU would be purchasing the TV, one student, Geteet T. Ogether, said, “I’m really excited for the TV to go up in the caf, I think this singular extra advertisement will definitely capture the attention of a lot of students. The increased involvement really justifies the cost.”
In the future, ASSMU is hoping to expand the curriculum beyond Cricut and heat press usage. Additional expenses could include funding alternative wax drawing classes — $5 per implement, nude sculpting models — $300-$1,200 per session, and Demonstrative Dance Research (DDR) — $15,000.
Though most of the community has voiced its support for the new courses, especially DDR, there has been debate about the appropriateness of some of the subject material. One student said, “Saint Martin’s is a university, we shouldn’t be teaching people how to fill in a coloring book!” While another student commented on how excited they were for the new sculpting class: “I’m 20 years old and I have been single my whole life. This new sculpting curriculum is going to be great for my self esteem.”