By Mallory Harris | Staff Writer
The academic calendar is planned out years in advance, however, it can also be revised even while the school year is underway. This has been seen through the pandemic’s cancellation of in-person classes during spring 2020 and the winter storm for spring 2021. Recently the Calendar Committee has released many updates for winter, spring and summer that showcase multiple breaks and important dates.
Specifically, in the spring 2022 semester, students are given a detailed list of dates that provide the first day of class, commencement dates, exam days and breaks. Along with the usual MLK Jr. Day University Holiday, students also receive a week-long spring break, Easter holiday including the following Monday and the traditional Diadeloso.
Cedar Park sophomore Carlie Dill sits on the Calendar Committee as a student representative and shared how the decision to include breaks was tricky for this semester. Dill explained that during the conversations of no spring break for spring 2021, she emphasized the importance of breaks for students. After the winter storm, Dill also shared how she advocated to not make-up those lost days as she personally believed the storm caused more suffering and tension than relaxation.
“I really stressed how important breaks are, and again, how students are suffering because they are not given the opportunity to have a break, and I think that it’s something that really does affect students,” Dill said. “Compared to this semester honestly it was just circumstances, I think that the goal is normalcy and getting back to where we were pre-COVID.”
Hutto senior Bradley Graham also sits on the Calendar Committee as a student representative and shared about the experience of being in the room when making decisions that impact the whole university. When discussing a topic, Graham explained how he sometimes felt he was taking up too much time, but the committee reassured him that they wanted to hear from students.
“In terms of just COVID-19, I think really they just wanted to hear how we had dealt with this past year and how things had looked and really it was about emphasizing the importance of mental health,” Graham said. “The two of us [student representatives] probably spoke for about 40% of the meeting, whereas the faculty, staff and the chairman spoke for the other 60%.”
When asked about being on the committee and how it operates, Graham explained it’s an opportunity for all branches of the university to work together and build a calendar that takes into consideration what students want. It’s important to note how the relationship of respect goes back and forth between the students and faculty within the committee and outside of it. Dill explained that in the university’s decision to revise this spring after the storm, she found it generous and respectable but still sees how students can fall behind.
“It’s not just me trying to frame it this way. They are very welcoming and want to hear our perspectives,” Graham said.
As the committee has rough plans all the way until fall 2023, it’s important to stay updated with new information regarding the calendar in breaks and important academic days as well. Ensuring they hear student’s voices and work towards an agreeable compromise, the Calendar Committee focuses on many aspects within the university.
“We understand why it had to be this way, but in the future … let’s try not to eliminate some of those days and times in there because that’s really important,” Graham said.