Health and Wellness department consolidates petitioning system

Professors to manage extra class spots from a single site

A website to make petitioning for health and wellness studies (HWS) classes easier has been launched for the fall 2014 semester.

The website, BUPetitions.com, organizes petitions on a first-come, first-serve basis for professors.

“It won’t necessarily make it easier to get into classes, but it will allow our instructors to have a tool to organize their petitions more easily so it is fair for the students who inquire first or are graduating and absolutely need the gen-ed,” Matthew Gawors, adjunct lecturer for the HWS department, wrote in an email.

According to the HWS website, since all Binghamton University students need to take at least one HWS course in order to graduate, spots are in high demand.

“Health and Wellness classes fill quickly; therefore, students are encouraged to begin fulfilling the requirement early on in their academic career. Postponement may cause scheduling difficulties in the senior year,” the website states.

Alenna McDonald, a yoga instructor, said she received around 10 petitions for each of the four classes she taught this semester.

According to Gawors, the department is only piloting the system at this point. It will be available for instructors who want to use it next semester, but participation will not be mandatory.

Gawors first came up with the system to manage the classes at the running store he owns, Confluence Running.

“We have the same system for all our drop-in classes. I took that idea while I was at the shop one day and applied it towards organizing my classes,” Gawors wrote. “Health and Wellness classes are a hot topic right now. It’s a major growth period for the industry.”

The new system will benefit students with a rigid course load, said Juliana Cuomo, a sophomore majoring in nursing who petitioned into HWS 215: Wellness Thru Weight Training.

“I had to petition because it was full, and I wanted to try to get all my GenEds done before I started my nursing courses the fall of my junior year,” Cuomo said. “I definitely think juniors and seniors should have priority, the classes fill instantly and it’s almost impossible to get one if you don’t get to register one of the first few days.”

Although the website is intended for students who need the general education credit to graduate, students of all years have access to this page.

“While I understand the need to allow Jr./Sr. priority, I think 1st and 2nd yr. students would really benefit from the many benefits yoga offers,” McDonald wrote in an email.

Danielle Napear, a senior majoring in psychology, said that she knew several people who had problems finding openings for certain classes, but that through the petitioning process they were able to get spots.

“But I think that it’s a good idea to make the petition process easier, more accessible and more stress-free for students, however that may be,” Napear said.

McDonald also said that the petitioning process should be as straightforward as possible to provide a fair opportunity to get into the classes.

“I am hopeful the petition process will be simplified to allow all level students equal access to classes,” McDonald wrote.

The site is primarily being used for HWS classes, but it may have the potential to extend to other courses.

“It’s a system that could be expanded for multiple uses, not only on campus, but throughout the community,” Gawors wrote. “I’ve been using this system at Confluence Running for close to a year to sign participants up to our programs and events. This could be possible for any business having petitions or RSVP events.”