Editorial: New USG tool will bolster campus involvement

The new Undergraduate Student Government (USG) Initiative Tracker isn’t just a way to help us measure positive changes on our campus. We hope the tracker will also help motivate students to participate more in driving these changes.

It’s no secret that Case Western Reserve University students are not always active in campus issues. Last semester, we wrote about the Commission for the Undergraduate Experience’s (CUE) Preliminary Recommendations report and our fears that campus members would not participate in providing feedback to the CUE.

With the new initiative system, though, remaining informed about issues on our campus will be easier than ever. The tracker outlines what initiatives are being undertaken, their current status and who is in charge of them, giving students a chance to contact the USG representatives who are involved in the projects students care about the most.

We think that providing transparency is one of the best parts of the tracker, and it’s something that will push more students to care about what’s happening on campus. USG is already pretty transparent, since anyone can attend General Body meetings. But many students might not dedicate time to attending USG meetings. With the tracker, they can stay updated on what’s going on with USG without ever leaving the library (or their rooms), and also get involved in initiatives.

USG also plans to provide regular updates for each initiative, so students can check that projects actually have forward motion. We hope that students will be empowered by this clear evidence of progress in our student government, further strengthening the relationship between USG and the larger campus community.

We’re even more excited by the implications for other aspects of student life at CWRU. Students will also be able to give better, more informed feedback on what USG is doing, which will help USG to serve our campus. The tracker opens up room for more dialogue between students, which should help our campus to develop a stronger sense of identity. We hope that more students will be able to see themselves as the drivers of change, and realize their ability to make our campus a better place.

Another thing that USG got right is the tracker’s simple, streamlined design. It’s easy to find who is heading which initiative and how to contact different USG members. We think USG has made very strong efforts to increase student interest, and hopefully participation, in important issues on our campus一like the Transgender Healthcare and Bathroom Access Bill, one of the initiatives currently listed on the tracker.

Of all the universities with student governments in the Association of American Universities, CWRU is the only one with a program quite like the initiative tracker. If it is successful, our university’s student government will set a precedent for other schools to implement similar tools in the future.

Student participation might not be a big factor on this campus, but with USG’s initiative tracker, that’s about to change.