Homecoming week may be over by Monday, but the buzz asking for student participants around campus won’t be.
In a span of three days, Student Outreach, a branch of the SGA, will be asking students to fill out surveys about changes they would like to see. They will be in front of Owens and at the Library Plaza from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. These quick surveys will give Student Outreach an insight on student concerns and “makeover” those issues with change.
“It’s a very short survey, but what we can use in that 60-second of a survey is so much more important. Take that one minute of your day to give us that significant data,” said Roy Abernathy, co-director of Student Outreach and a sophomore majoring in applied economic management.
The first round of surveys gives a general overview of student opinion on topics, such as dining and transportation. Following that round, another set of surveys are conducted, but instead, they are sent out to a limited student pool that is randomly selected.
To encourage students to participate in the makeover, Student Outreach will be giving away free sunglasses and a shot at winning at iPad. Last year, about 2,300 undergraduates filled out the first part of the survey and the number is expected to grow this year, according to Abernathy.
This makeover goes beyond the aesthetics and touches on issues concerning the student body. Three years ago, feedback from these surveys led to the 24/7 operation hours at Torgersen Bridge. Since then, the survey has been edited to ensure the best results.
“Last year, it became a lot stronger. We have a good foundation to build upon, as in last year, the questions were made statistically reputable, so our questions have a lot greater worth,” Abernathy said.
In addition, Student Outreach spoke to department heads to see what concerns they may have to formulate valuable questions. Some of these department heads made suggestions regarding the library, athletics and dining.
“(We ask) what they’re interested in as well and what they know are feasible changes,” Abernathy said.
This year, several questions will be about student centers since the university has plans to build a new center. They will also include questions on dining and transportation since they have been popular trends in the past.
After gathering the data, Student Outreach compiles the results to present to the Commission on Student Affairs, which recommends policy to the University Council, and the Board of Visitors. Eventually, data collected from this year’s surveys will help the university determine what is important to keep or change in the future.
As of now, Student Outreach cannot direct change because of their limited power, which is an obstacle SGA has been battling with.
“That’s one of the biggest limitations we have, I would say in the past, is that it’s hard to produce results from this,” Abernathy said.
Despite limitations, Abernathy and co-director Kim Caputo intend to create change by dividing this year’s makeover into two portions.
“This is our first portion of it by getting the student input, but in the spring, to again remind students that, those who participated, this is what you all said and here is how we are actively trying to change it,” Caputo said.
With time, Student Outreach expects to make effective change around campus.
“We do have the power to change the school as long as students are willing to take the survey, give us that data, and that we can present significant data,” Abernathy said.
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