Post Classifieds

Organizations should provide real service

By Hai Nguyen
On February 23, 2012

  • Interim head coach Scott Srnka. Michael Applegate / The DePauw

Last week, I read a letter to the editors addressing the misunderstanding about Underrepresented in Science, a new club that has just been added to DePauw's over 100 active student organizations.

The misunderstanding revolves around Underrepresented in Science's plan to provide past tests and class materials to members during study sessions. Student government worried that these will violate academic integrity, as the Underrepresented in Science members will have advantage over other students in their classes.

Student government's concern is reasonable. In the letter, the author claims that Underrepresented in Science only provides past tests that professors have already placed online and the club will print out. I am a Computer Science major and have taken many science classes at DePauw. Before any exams, my professors often provides a review sheet or a sample exam or sometimes only one exam from last year.

I have never had a professor who posted exams from the last five or ten years online for students to access.

I may be wrong, as I by no means take every science class at DePauw, but I wonder, will Underrepresented in Science be a studying club where members go to get help on the upcoming exams and homework?

If I am an "underrepresented" science student, I will never go to Underrepresented in Science just to have a hard copy of what I already have or never go just to seek help for my reviewing for exams when I can ask my professors, who obviously have better knowledge and resources to help.

At any university, a student organization or a club often serves as a hub where people can gather and pursue their similar interests. The majority of the clubs approved for this semester seem to focus on a tangible interest.

There is a shooting club where people who love to shoot meet up and there is a gaming club where students can go and play board and strategy game with friends who have similar interests.

Looking into its name, I would assume that Underrepresented in Science's goal is to promote the underrepresented in the fields of science. Yet this goal is very ambiguous. First, who is considered underrepresented? Since about 80 percent of students in my Computer Science classes are male, are women underrepresented? Is it addressing students whose parents are Amish and have little contact with science since they were a kids? In addition, DePauw offers eight different science majors ranging from psychology to kinesiology. As the word "science" stands in the club name, the goal to promote the underrepresented in every field of science sounds rather too ambitious to me.

Above all, the idea of having a club serving as a study club does not make sense for me. Whether cheating or not, I think student organizations' main goal should promote students to pursue their interest outside the academic environment, which perhaps is part of the reason why they are called extra-curricular activities.

All I know about the club is just its name and a letter to the editor. I admit that there are objective and goals and intended activities that I don't know about Underrepresented in Science.

Yet in my opinion, the organization have a lot to prove to make an impact on DePauw campus.

— Nguyen is a sophomore from Hanoi, Vietnam majoring in computer science. 

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