Means of voicing concerns moves towards a digital format
March 14, 2017
Filed under FEATURES
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Every week, the members of the United Student Government’s (USG) Student Concerns Committee check the student concern and suggestion boxes located around campus. Although sometimes they contain suggestions, other times, the boxes are empty, which is upsetting to some of the members.
“It is a little disappointing when we don’t find anything because we love actually hearing about what the students want done,” Shaniece Lawrence said, a junior biomedical science major and member of USG’s Student Concerns Committee.
But according to Dean of Students Keith Paylo, the bulk of student concerns and suggestions are online.
“Email is the most effective means of communication, and we also receive a lot of suggestions and concerns through Facebook,” Paylo said. “Physical forms of communication are going away.”
Paylo and the rest of Student Life serve as advisers to USG, and they work together on concerns and suggestions. While digital communication is now the most popular method, Paylo said his office’s open door policy will accommodate anyone who steps up.
“When in doubt, step up to the seventh floor Student Center,” Paylo said.
Davion Heron, chair of USG’s student concerns committee, said the committee meets once every week to discuss suggestions.
“We talk about … how we can help to make the university better in the eyes of our students,” Heron said.
Some common concerns brought up by students according to both Paylo and the members of the student concerns committee have been about food service, WiFi and the shuttle service. Paylo said that his office listens to any and all suggestions or student concerns.
Heron also said that not everything in the suggestions boxes is serious, but they still look into some ideas, such as a bounce house, which he said was requested sometime last year. In addition, Heron said his committee was able to follow through on a request for a punching bag.
“We had someone ask to get a punching bag in the gym,” Heron said. “We went to administration, and, luckily enough, an alumni ended up donating a punching bag to our gym. We managed to make that idea work.”
There are three USG suggestion boxes, located in the West Penn Building, Thayer Hall and Lawrence Hall. Besides these, students can also bring up concerns, positive or negative, at weekly USG meetings, or online via email, Facebook or Twitter.
USG welcomes any feedback or requests.
“If there’s something students want, they bring it to us,” Heron said. “We try and think, ‘how can we make this work?’”