This semester, Undergraduate Student Government (USG) launched two new platforms to increase transparency and facilitate communication with students: the online campus concern box and the initiative tracker.
The concern box (change.case.edu) is a website that collects student concerns. It was a brainchild of Timothy Nicholas, USG Vice President of Public Relations, and Representative Jacob Santrom. First introduced to campus in December 2016 at Thwing Study Over, the concern box has received 18 submissions so far, with most messages concerning student life.
“The goal is to get as much feedback as we can and to create a bond between the representatives and students,” said Nicholas.
One of these submissions complains about the disfunction of the coffee vending machine in Wade Commons. Nicholas said that this concern will be delivered by him to the USG Food Committee, which in turn would meet with Bon Appétit Management and address this issue. Nicholas and other members of the public relations committee will review these responses and direct them to different committees for further actions.
Nicholas is hoping that the website will convey more student concerns to USG.
“One of the comments is asking for longer hours at the dining hall,” he said, picking out examples. “This other comment is asking for us to fix the vending machine. It says sometimes it works, and asks you to swipe the cards. Sometimes it takes your money [and doesn’t pay you back.”
Students who submit their suggestions to the website can choose to leave their contact information or remain anonymous. USG will reach out to those who leave their email addresses to keep them updated on the progress USG has made on their concerns. For those who cannot be directly reached by USG, Nicholas said there is another venue for them to check if their suggestions have been taken care of: the initiative tracker.
Expected to start within the next few months, the initiative tracker keeps the campus posted on initiatives USG representatives are working on. All initiatives will be listed on the USG website and weekly updates will be provided. After student concerns from the concern box are assigned to different committees, these concerns will be turned into individual projects and will be listed on the USG website along with other initiatives.
“It kind of makes it a full circle,” said Nicholas. “We have change.case.edu so students put input in, and then we have the initiative tracker so students can see what we are doing out of it.”
They are part of Public Relation Committee’s new, larger push to bridge the gap between students and USG.