In an effort to better align themselves with student concerns, the Georgetown University Student Association is developing a website to gather suggestions for potential projects.
President Mike Meaney (SFS ’12) and Vice President Greg Laverriere (COL ’12) campaigned last winter with the promise to launch a website that allows for student input. Secretary of Information and Technology Michael Crouch (MSB ’13) is now working to bring their pledge to fruition.
“I think this project is significant because it provides a means for the entire undergraduate student body to be able to directly converse with GUSA and for all other students to rate and comment on their suggestions,” Crouch said. “Essentially what it does is create a dialogue between GUSA and the student body.”
Meaney said that he hopes the site will allow GUSA to act as a better advocate for student interests.
“It’s one more way, where if students have an issue and they don’t know where to go or who to turn to, they can go to this website,” he said. “The issue will come to our attention, and we could then bring a lot of the concerns to the appropriate members of the school administration who can actually do some of these things.”
Although GUSA maintains a Twitter feed and Facebook page, Crouch said that these services have so far been one-sided, as they have been used to raise awareness of the association’s activities instead of providing platforms for suggestions from the student body. Crouch hopes to implement more feedback into GUSA’s social media pages in addition to creating the new site.
“Social media is meant to be a place to network, a place to maintain and develop conversations,” Crouch said.
The George Washington University Student Association recently launched a similarly-aimed site using the paid web service UserVoice. The site allows users to post and then vote on suggestions for an organization to implement. The most popular ideas are then featured prominently on the site. GWUSA’s service, known as G-Voice, has collected hundreds of votes for its 15 user-generated proposals.
“It’s … where a lot of student governments are going with how to keep track of the concerns of students, and that’s something that we would like to do as well,” Meaney said of GUSA’s plans.
Crouch said he is considering implementing UserVoice because it has a user-friendly interface and can be easily integrated into the existing GUSA website. The project is projected to be launched next semester.