Senate pushes for USC to add fall break
Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:54 pm in News
The Undergraduate Student Government unanimously approved a Senate resolution Tuesday night that proposes adding a two- to four-day October break to the academic calendar.
USG uses resolutions to formally communicate its position on an issue to the administration.
The break received overwhelming student support in an online survey conducted by USG earlier this year. Of the 905 respondents, 90 percent supported its addition.
Of the top 25 schools on US News & World Report‚Äôs Best Colleges of 2012, 13 have some form of a mid-semester fall break incorporated into their schedules, according to the resolution, which was authored by Residential Senator Aron Theising and former Residential Senator Susan Deng, who is currently studying abroad, and sponsored by Residential Senator Jordan Veira.
USG Vice President Logan Lachman said the break would provide a much-needed time for students to unwind in the middle of the semester.
‚ÄúIt would be a great way for students to rest since we do have such a rigorous academic calendar,‚ÄĚ Lachman said.
Though USC has more instructional days than many similar private universities, Lachman said, an additional fall break would possibly be offset with an extension of the academic year.
The poll shows that students are generally split on extending the school year. Of the 905 survey respondents, 49 percent support starting the semester earlier, while about 40 percent support ending the semester later.
Adrien Ortega, an undeclared sophomore, said the benefits of a fall break outweigh the drawbacks.
‚ÄúIt doesn‚Äôt feel like the fall has enough time off,‚ÄĚ Ortega said. ‚ÄúI would be willing to go for [an extension].‚ÄĚ
Other students, however, said the proposed break would be too short to have a substantial effect on relieving stress in the middle of the semester.
‚Äú[A fall break] would not really make a big difference,‚ÄĚ said Brianne Pallan, a sophomore with an undeclared major. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs not very long, so it wouldn‚Äôt really matter to me.‚ÄĚ
Though some students would rather see USG advocate for a weeklong Thanksgiving break, USG President Monish Tyagi said a fall break would more effectively break up the fall semester. There are no instructional breaks between Labor Day and Thanksgiving break, a time span of nearly three months.
‚ÄúThe reason we were pushing for a break in October is it really does have benefits academically in the sense that you can pace your way through the fall semester ‚Ä¶ similar in placement to where spring break is,‚ÄĚ Tyagi said.
As the population of out-of-state students continues to grow, Tyagi, who is from Atlanta, said the fall break would provide students with enough time to travel home.
‚ÄúIf you have a Thursday and Friday off, that‚Äôs enough time to make a quick trip home,‚ÄĚ Tyagi said. ‚ÄúAs USC becomes more diverse, in terms of the amount of out-of-state students we have, the break will be a benefit for those students as well.‚ÄĚ
Scott Lejfer, a freshman majoring in business administration, said he would use the break to travel home to Boston.
‚ÄúThere are very few opportunities to go home,‚ÄĚ Lejfer said. ‚ÄúAll my friends on the East Coast have designated breaks to go home and I need that break to go home too.‚ÄĚ
Based on USG‚Äôs experience with adding an extra day to Thanksgiving Break, Lachman said changing the academic calendar would require a considerable amount of time.
‚ÄúThe extension of Thanksgiving break was about three years in the making so these things do take time,‚ÄĚ Lachman said.
Tyagi said USG‚Äôs next step in pushing for a fall break is to present the proposal to senior administrators.
‚ÄúThere are a lot of sides to be considered with this,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúStudents obviously have a huge stake in this, but also professors who have to adjust their schedule and the administration.‚ÄĚ