On December 7th, 2016 the Leonard Lief Library at Lehman College will open its doors for 24 hours to students so that they can use the space to study for final examinations. This was the main goal that we, The Lehman Lightning Party, promised the student body we would accomplish if elected as representatives for the Student Government Association (SGA). We received a lot of fall back from administrators and some students who did not want the library to be open around the clock during this time of the semester.
We created a survey and in the span of four days we surveyed 782 students on campus. Out of those 782 students, a staggering 94% said that they use the library and 78% said that they strongly agreed that the library should be open for 24 hours during finals. This campaign took a whole team effort. All SGA officers played an important role, whether it was distributing surveys, meeting with administrators, imputing data, or presenting the finished data in a report. Our efforts were answered when, after bargaining with the school, we came to a compromise and created this pilot for the library.
Many students, from my experience, feel entitled to certain accommodations just because they pay tuition, often saying “they [administration] have to do what we say because we are here paying tuition”. These students fail to realize that the school can indeed survive without them, as there are far more students unwilling to protest or walk out of their classroom and risk losing their money. If students want to make a change at their institutions, they have to be committed and come together and voice their opinions in a civilized and professional matter, by writing letters and emails to those in charge without overstepping on the way. Not everything has to be a protest in which you inconvenience the rest of the tuition-paying-students that do not care for joining on the protests.
Much like we did, we did not ask students to do sit in at the library nor did we ask students to make protests demanding the library to be open at all cost. We did things the civil way, much like previous student governments tried to and failed. However, in our case we succeeded. We succeeded because of the relationships we built with the administration and the way in which we handled ourselves. We succeeded because we backed our arguments with data. We succeeded because we were willing to bargain and compromise, understanding that in life, one won't necessarily get a full cup. Come visit us at the Student Life building and voice your concerns, and join the Odyssey to share your opinions on what is going on at Lehman.