Seton Hall’s winter breaks have been getting shorter each year, to the concern of many students.
SHU’s website says that finals end on Dec. 21 and the 2017 spring semester starts on Monday, Jan. 9. This means that winter break is 18 days long this year. However, next year finals end on Dec. 19 and spring 2018 classes start on Tuesday, Jan. 16. This amounts to a much longer 27-day break.
Last year, the 2015 winter break was 19 days long. Finals ended on Dec. 22 and Spring 2016 classes began Monday, Jan. 11.
“There are certain pivotal dates and accreditation issues that affect the academic calendar,” Dr. Joan Guetti, senior associate provost, said via email. Because SHU looks to start classes on the Monday before Labor Day, there is a cyclic pattern that impacts the start and end of fall term.
The Calendar Committee makes recommendations to the Executive Cabinet regarding the calendar, Guetti added. She said the committee is made up of representatives from the Faculty Senate, Student Affairs and the Office of the Provost.
Guetti added that in spring there are holidays that fall on Mondays, such as Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Easter Monday, which impacts the spring schedule. Spring break also is considered when putting together the schedule.
“Our accreditation standards call for a certain number of class meetings per credit awarded, and we [SHU] schedule classes to be compliant,” Guetti said. She added that 750 minutes of class time corresponds to earning one credit.
One freshman feels that this year’s winter break is a generous amount of time compared to the break he had in high school.
Rafael Martinez, a freshman pre-science major tracking physics, said that in high school his winter break lasted from around Christmas time until a day or so after New Year’s.
He said SHU’s winter break is a “transition from this [fall] semester to next semester, it’s just a nice little break.”
However, upperclassmen who have had longer winter breaks at SHU in the past do not feel the same way.
Ryan Minogue, a senior majoring in communication studies, said the length of break is important because it gives students a chance to “clear their mind to get ready for the next semester.” Minogue added, “it’s a good break to get time off to hang out with family and friends.”
Hamza Bagadia, a junior diplomacy and international relations major from India, said SHU students deserve a longer winter break. He said in an email interview that as an international student he is disappointed because he only gets to go home for a few days, which is not fair.
He pointed out the “inconvenience of flight options and prices” due to the dates winter break occurs this year.
Others students agree that a short winter break is an inconvenience.
Faryal Gohar, a senior social behavioral sciences major with a social work and economics minor, said via email that many SHU students are not from around the area so they are not able to go home and spend as much time as they would like to with their family since break is short.
Speaking to the financial part of the situation, Gohar said the length of break is a problem for students who use the interval to work full time to earn money for their books for the spring semester.
Astha Dutta, a sophomore diplomacy and economics major, said she has used previous winter breaks as a time to make money. However, this is more difficult with a shorter break.
Dutta added that break should last until at least mid-January. She said break, “allows us [students] to recharge before the next semester and if everyone feels burnt out they’re not going to do as well in the next semester.”
Violet Reed, a sophomore English major, said via email that a longer break would allow her to pick up more shifts at her job. However, this year she just wants to relax.
“I take my studies really seriously so by the time winter break comes around, like many students, I’m drained physically and mentally and I need a good break to catch up on sleep and just decompress,” Reed said.
Samantha Todd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.