Augustana begins before Labor Day, will next year, too
This year was a record-breaking start for Augustana—record-breakingly early that is. In the first time in over a decade, due to a late Labor Day, Augustana has started in August.
Because of a late Labor Day, Augustana has started before the holiday for two years in a row and is bound to start before again next year.
All three academic years, 2015-2018, are a part of a three-year academic plan ratified in 2014 by the President’s Council. In 2014, the council determined that it was smoother to swallow the pill sooner rather than later.
If the University had not started after Labor Day this year, the last day of finals would have been Dec. 21—only four days before Christmas. If they started after Labor Day last year, the product would have been even worse, with finals not ending until Dec. 23.
The process of voting for a calendar is more complicated then one would think, and it all begins with Registrar and Assistant Dean of Instructional Data, Joni Krueger.
Krueger begins plotting out three possible scenarios for each academic year, taking into account federal regulations and breaks. She then submits the outlines to the President’s Council.
Once submitted, the council then discusses what would work best for the largest amount of people, then votes on the best-case scenario.
“It’s so hard because there’s so many things that go into making the calendar,” Krueger said. “Once you shift just one thing it has a domino effect on everything else.”
A major decider of when classes start is making sure the semester is in compliance with federal regulations that require a 14 academic-week-long semester. Students will not be eligible for FAFSA scholarships if a semester is not in line with the regulations.
“The calendar is a challenge, it really is, but I think everyone did a great job at coming together to make the most of it,” Krueger said. However, she admitted, that it was not free of complications.
Because of the early start, some faculty with children in the Sioux Falls School District were met with complications due to Sioux Falls schools strictly starting after Labor Day.
Some university organizations had complications with the early start as well.
“It’s frustrating for Viking Advisors when students move in the weekend before a short week and having a long weekend right after,” senior Viking Advisor Josh Dubs said. “It puts more pressure on staff to schedule high-impact events.”
Krueger said that dissatisfaction comes with the territory.
“The hardest part of the calendar is knowing you will never win,” Krueger said. “There will always be a group or organization that will say ‘well, you forgot about us’, but it’s not that we forgot about them, it’s that we try to create a calendar what works for the most people.”
Nevertheless, senior Adam Guthmiller said he actually prefers to start earlier rather than later.
“I start to get anxious when I see state-school students leaving for school, and then I start missing people,” Guthmiller said. “So I’d rather get here as soon as possible.”
Philosophy and Classics Professor David O’Hara said that the start date does not concern him, learning is what matters.
“I have an alert on my phone that goes off every day that reminds me to ‘learn something new,’ so it doesn’t matter to me what day, month, or year it is—I care about learning.”