Elizabeth Bonham, staff writer
Early this term, the Work Program Office introduced the “Create-a-Crew” workshop, to open a forum for ideas for new, student-initiated work crews. Crews that have gone in and out of existence in past years, directed towards improvement of quality of life on campus and academic exposure, have traditionally been proposed and developed by students.
The workshop opened the floor for brainstorming of what students need, and what they want, out of new crews for next year. Popular ideas on the list themed “what if we had a crew that…?” included: textiles, taxi, child care, barbershop, personal auto shop, laundry, radio, and brewery.
In order to create a crew from one of these ideas, students had to fill out a simple form from the WPO proposing a crew leader, mission, name, size, place, and justification. Students were given an April 1 deadline to invent a crew that could be begun next semester. It takes about one term to prepare a new crew, said Karen Huntley of the WPO.
Once the proposal is completed, it is reviewed by the Dean of Work Ian Robertson and the WPAC. The WPAC is comprised of two staff, two faculty, and two students who will represent the interests of the community in deciding if the new crew will be a beneficial addition.
The biggest issue in approving the creation of a new work crew is space, said Huntley.
Most of the proposed crews would require minimal money or resource for support. Funding could come from the PAC, which deals with master budgetary issues, or from individual departments like Student Life that might benefit from specific crews. The most important resource, and the one in lowest supply and highest demand, is a location for the crew to work out of.
The newest student-initiated crew is the Bread Crew, developed just this semester by senior Bryan Hill.
Bread crew started from Cow Pie, and its intention is to extend the sustainability mission of food services by using self-baked breads, crusts, rolls, and eventually bagels and sandwich breads.
Space was made for the bread crew by opening up early and late hours in the kitchens, where a bread oven is being specially built for next semester.
Student-begun crews in the past have included a campus radio crew, which has gone in and out of existence but which was proposed again at the workshop.
The community bike shop was born when “a student showed up with a bunch of bikes,” said Huntley, “it takes that kind of initiative.”
The most popular proposals so far have been the barber shop and the textiles crews. Ideas are also in the works to begin a radical literature library, and to begin a co-op crew.
According to the WPO however, only one student has taken the official first step of picking up a proposal form.