Free period concept is great, but could use some adjustments

Dozens of student clubs solicited student members at Involvement Fest. But when so many of them meet at the same time -- during Tuesday/Thursday Free Period -- students are forced to choose between competing interests.

By Olivia Cambalik staff writer

    As a freshman, free period is a new idea to me. It is a smart idea. But as I’m coming to navigate college life, I believe that there could be some changes to make this free time better.

    Free period is every Tuesday and Thursday from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. It is intended to encourage students to get involved in clubs, most of which meet at these times. It also gives students a break from classes, giving them time to catch up on work and eat lunch. These are all great, but there are some issues that arise.

    Since most clubs meet during free period, meetings often overlap between various clubs. Students who are involved in more than one club must choose which meeting to go to. Missing a club meeting means that students may be missing valuable information, or an activity the club did that day. This is discouraging student involvement because students will feel they cannot handle being part of multiple clubs.

    Some clubs do meet in the evening, but this is time that students are involved in sports or are completing homework.

    Another issue with free period is that everyone is free at this time, which can cause chaos in dining facilities and study areas. We are all familiar with the crowds of people at the dining facilities and library. This can be frustrating.

    Some students are just too busy to even utilize free period. When I asked another freshman student her views on free period, she replied: “I don’t even have time to go to club meetings during free period, I’m often doing homework.”

    So, how can we tweak these issues to make free period more flexible for everyone? Perhaps more clubs could meet on weekends, when most students are not busy. Or maybe free period could be three days a week instead of two, giving clubs another option to meet.

    For the crowds of people, perhaps we could split free period into two different times. At a certain time, underclassmen students could have free period and at another, upperclassmen. Clubs could then have upperclassmen and underclassmen advisors to run club meetings. When the clubs want to bring underclassmen and upperclassmen together, they could meet on weekends to confer.

    Free period is an excellent idea. But it there are small details that could be improved to make it flexible for everyone.

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