Majority of IdeaScale Posts Await Action
Published: Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 02:09
GUSA and university administrators are in the process of addressimg some of the 120 recommendations that have been made on Georgetown’s IdeaScale, an online forum for student feedback.
Launched in February 2012 as a joint project by the Georgetown University Student Association and Chief Operating Officer Chris Augostini, the site aims to facilitate discussion between students and administrators about how to address student needs.
Georgetown’s Chief Innovation Officer Michael Wang (MSB ’07) discussed the program’s important role in reimagining technology at Georgetown during the inaugural h.Innovation Summit this past April.
“We want students to be able to see what’s happening and see their ideas being worked in the system,” Wang said.
Students can submit ideas online, rate them with a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” and leave comments. These interactive features allow GUSA and university administrators to pinpoint the most popular, heavily-supported ideas.
Though university administrators are responsible for officially monitoring the forum, GUSA members use the site to gauge students’ interests, according to GUSA President Clara Gustafson (SFS ’13).
Gustafson added that IdeaScale has proven helpful to the Disciplinary Review Committee, which is advocating to change the “more likely than not” evidentiary standard in the Code of Student Conduct to “clear and convincing evidence.”
According to Gustafson, the GUSA executive decided to post about the code on IdeaScale when it became clear last April that the university planned to delay implementation of the new policy until the fall. With 346 votes, the post is currently the most popular on the site.
“It’s another way to show [that] not just two students care about this or 10 students care about this,” Gustafson said. “This is something the whole school is behind.”
Currently, other popular posts on the site include suggestions for a better book buyback program, a more versatile flex dollar system, a new housing website and more meal-plan options.
Despite GUSA’s support for the forum, some students were unaware that it is a viable resource.
“I didn’t know the site was there, but hearing about the discussions taking place, it’s obvious that students are better able to comminicate their needs with administrators. Otherwise, how else would they know that we need another Grab ’n’ Go location or more seating on the quad?” Rebecca Aklilu (MSB ’15) said.
The site has been most successful in implementing technological changes. The expansion of the campus wireless network and the launch of Georgetown’s mobile application both started as Idea-Scale posts.
“This is obviously a better medium for campus dialogue, as some of these posts have already been addressed,” Mathew Hoffman (COL ’14) said.
But some students who have heard back from the administration about their posts haven’t seen any tangible results, and many others have not received any response at all. At press time, 120 ideas had been posted on the site; 11 had been marked as “complete,” nine as “in review” and five as “in progress.”
Scott Romberg (COL ’13) posted an idea regarding milk dispensers at O’Donovan Hall in late June. While visiting the University of Michigan, he noticed that the milk dispensers in its dining hall included a sign students could slide to alert dining hall workers when dispensers were empty. Romberg said implementing a similar system at Leo’s would solve a persistent communication delay between students and workers.
The idea has 74 votes, and Romberg received a response from ARAMARK Executive Director of Campus Dining Services Andrew Lindquist on July 2.
“[Lindquist] said thank you for the recommendation and ‘We’ll look into it,’” Romberg said. “I was impressed I heard back from them … but it hasn’t been implemented.”
Other students believe that IdeaScale can be improved.
“I think that ideas that get traction on IdeaScale should be acted on quicker and more forcefully,” said Chris Stromeyer (SFS ’14), who has posted to propose changes regarding restricted access to speaking events and the Blackboard Mobile Learn website. “[Popular ideas] should get immediate attention at the highest levels, and that is not yet happening.”