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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

EDITORIAL: JBS needs groundswell support

Published: September 18, 2009
Section: Front Page

In order to combat the overcrowding that additional students (and additional tuition) will create, the university has dreamed up the Justice Brandeis Semester, an experiential learning program that requires students to spend one semester away from the Brandeis campus.

If the administration expects JBS to solve its overcrowding woes, the meetings about the JBS pilot program better be crowded. Unfortunately, this has not been the case. The most recent JBS town hall meetings featured the politicians but not the town.

It is not enough for Student Union officials or Undergraduate Department Representatives to be excited or at least intrigued by JBS. In order for the program to work as intended, the student body as a whole must be engaged in the pilot development and launch. Dean of Arts and Sciences Adam Jaffe explained that the planners of JBS do not know how many students might apply for this summer’s pilot program. There might be 500, he said, or there might be 20. If only 20 students express interest by way of application, the program will have failed before it was even launched.

In order to make the Justice Brandeis Semester program alleviate crowding and serve as an attraction to perspective students, the administration must partner with students, faculty, and staff to create a groundswell of interest and support. Without that, the program will be dead on arrival.