My Georgetown Idea, an online discussion board run through IdeaScale, has shown that it can be an effective platform for proposing improvements to the university. But while these conversations are fodder for dialogue, we’d like to see the site become a more meaningful medium for inspiring campus change.

It’s certainly productive to give students a place to share ideas, but as with most online forums, the propositions made on IdeaScale are often detached from reality. Students would be more motivated to participate in IdeaScale if there were a system in place whereby, if a proposal on the site crossed a threshold of positive support, the Georgetown University Student Association would be required to put the item on the agenda and consider it on the record.

Members of GUSA may end up quickly dismissing many IdeaScale posts as impractical under such a structure, but if it were put in place, at least the student association would be held accountable for giving the proposals formal consideration. And in turn, students would have the satisfaction of knowing that they are directly connected to their elected leaders.

Some GUSA members have responded directly to students via IdeaScale. While that outreach is commendable, requiring mandatory on-the-record GUSA discussion of popular ideas would empower students to become a formal part of the policy-making process.

If GUSA purports to be the voice of the students, it would benefit from tapping into the vast resource of student ideas that could be generated on IdeaScale.

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