Student Ideas Put to Work Online
Published: Thursday, March 29, 2012
Updated: Friday, March 30, 2012 13:03
Hoya Ideas Community, an online platform that allows students to submit, comment on and vote for suggestions to the university, has accumulated about 50 ideas and more than individual 700 users since its launch a month ago.
The website aims to facilitate more efficient communication among students, clubs and the university administration.
“We want to make sure [the platform] is something integrated in students’ daily life,” James Li (MSB ’13), a student liaison for the platform, said. “We want it to become part of how you would go about solving an issue at Georgetown.”
Georgetown University Student Association’s former Secretary of Information and Technology Michael Crouch (MSB ’13), who helped design the site, said the university responded swiftly after students rallied around a post asking for action when the university announced that LXR and Nevils Halls would lack air conditioning until May.
“When the [air conditioning] problem arose, it seemed like a very opportune moment to test [Hoya Ideas Community] to see if it would work,” he said.
Crouch’s request that university housing provide fans or repair the air conditioning system before May solicited 121 student votes of support. The university announced that it would install a temporary chiller one day after the post to Hoya Ideas Community, a success that Crouch also attributes to student emails and an open letter sent to the Chief Operating Officer and the Office of Student Housing.
Chief Innovation Officer Michael Wang (MSB ’07) said the platform has served as a helpful channel to gauge student needs. According to Wang, university leaders regularly review the website and discuss popular ideas during administrative meetings.
A recent post about campus WiFi caught the attention of Chief Information Officer Lisa Davis, Wang said. He added that the university is working to implement short-term solutions to address the issue.
Currently, ideas labeled “In Review” by the university include more freedom for meal swipes at O’Donovan Dining Hall and GPS trackers for SafeRides vans. Projects in this section are in the process of being investigated or implemented, according to Wang.
GUSA representatives said the platform will allow them to better represent and engage with students.
“The senate is here as a resource, but ultimately we’re only talking to people we know, just like everyone else,” GUSA Senate Speaker Adam Talbot (COL ’12) said. “It’s definitely going to be a place in the future for the senate to look for issues important to students.”
Li, however, noted more feedback on the platform should be gathered before the website, which is currently in beta mode, officially launches at the Georgetown Innovation Summit on April 19 and 20.
Adam Ramadam (SFS ’14), a member of a focus group organized by Li Tuesday, agreed that the visible connection between students and administrators on the site should be expanded.
“Right now, everyone can post anything they want without prior screening, but one of the questions is how do we go ahead and get concerns and relay them to the university administration,” he said.
The developers are considering adding features such as email responses, press releases or a blog that the administration could use to address the feasibility of certain ideas.
“It’s a good step to have the platform, but to actually get the university to respond, that’s going to be the key to making the platform last years and years,” Li said.
Correction: The article originally said that Adam Ramadam was a member of the Class of 2012. He is a member of the Class of 2014.