Together, everyone can achieve less

“None of us is as dumb as all of us.”

So says the poster labeled “meetings” on, a company that specializes in denominational posters, a spoof of the familiar, cheery motivational posters seen around many an office.

More often than not, this sentiment about the futility of group meetings is found to be true, especially in college, during the bane of every college student’s existence: the much-despised group project. We’re not saying group projects are bad. Sooner or later, unless we pull a Henry David Thoreau and move to a remote shack next to a pond, we’re going to have to deal with people. However, is it really necessary to have so many group meetings?

For business and communication majors especially, seemingly every night during the week is taken up by some group project meeting during which 10 to 15 minutes of actual work is done. It seems as though most group members think that attendance is equal to work and hope that they can “show their way up” to a good grade

Why do students have to trudge their way to Bartley or the Connelly Center or Falvey for a meeting whose mission could have been accomplished via e-mail or the phone? Much like a child who is only good when their parents are watching, many students take on a similar philosophy and believe that if no one sees them working, it doesn’t count. Hence, the reliance on group projects in which each group member monitors the work of the others members.

Group projects are also great for forming bonds among classmates that otherwise would not talk outside of class. This can encourage better discussion and participation in the actual classroom because of the increased comfort level. However, oftentimes students do not interact with their classmates for a reason – they have little in common, which is frequently reflected in students’ different work methods. For every student who likes to get their work done ahead of time, there is someone who loves to procrastinate. Put these people together in a group, and frustration is sure to follow. Or maybe the students actually do get along really well; but then much of the meeting time is taken up by conversations not related to the work at hand. This can irritate many members of the group who do not have time for socializing, instead having other homework or responsibilities.

It’s no longer the 1800s. Why not utilize a little of the Internet connection that has earned Villanova a top 10 ranking for “Most Wired Campuses” and spare already over-burdened students from having to devote even more of their valuable time to pointless project meetings?