Website Aims To Connect Students With UGBC

In an effort to more effectively connect students with the organization, UGBC has launched a website that recognizes and aims to respond to student demands. Campus Voice is an online platform where students can submit and vote on proposed initiatives.

The website serves as a forum for student ideas to be heard and responded to by UGBC. Once student-generated initiatives are submitted, other students have the ability to use 10 votes among the list of proposed initiatives. Ideas that receive 50 or more votes are then automatically administered to by UGBC, which will take measures to accomplish those goals so long as they are within the organization’s jurisdiction, according to Matt Hugo, UGBC senator and A&S ’16.

“It was really made with the intention of addressing the issue of the lack of a link between students and student government,” Hugo said. “So this allows people, if they come up with ideas, to reach out to us and get them results with our assistance.”

All submitted ideas are permitted on Campus Voice, but they arescreened by student administrators within UGBC to prevent the use of profanities or harmful language. Hugo anticipates that the number of proposed student initiatives will eventually approach 50, with the most voted-on ideas slated to receive immediate attention from UGBC.

In an effort to mobilize students to use the website, the user with the most voted-on initiative by Friday, March 21 will receive a $50 Amazon gift card.
To ensure that their ideas have been acknowledged and undertaken by UGBC, students who voted on an initiative will receive email updates from Campus Voice that indicate the status of the proposal.

“We email everyone who voted on [an initiative],” Hugo said. “At Student Assembly meetings and in UGBC memos we will outline our progress with these [goals], but Campus Voice will also incorporate a listserv that sends emails to students who voted so they’ll see whether it’s under review, it’s been started, or it’s been completed.”
Started in 2009 by previous senators but left inactive for nearly five years, Campus Voice now provides students the opportunity to call for a bike-sharing program or an update to UGBC’s Professor Evaluation Profile System (PEPS)-both of which are currently listed initiatives on the Campus Voice website and have surpassed 50 votes.
“Campus Voice is unique in that it not only provides students a concrete way to provide suggestions and make their voices heard; it also allows for increased transparency and accountability,” said senator, president-elect, and A&S ’15 Nanci-Fiore Chettiar in an email. “This website is not meant to be a suggestion box-it’s supposed to create and sustain a dialogue … what we need is to listen, act, and communicate.”

Hugo also attributed much of the coordination and fruition of a usable website to Chris Marchese, senator, executive vice president-elect, and A&S ’15.
“The idea was initially Marchese’s … he pitched it to everyone and got everyone onboard,” Hugo said.

Marchese, who currently serves as the senate pro-tempore and recently won the 2014 UGBC elections alongside Fiore-Chettiar, began promoting the idea at the beginning of the academic year and worked to launch the website through the policy development committee.

“One of my goals coming into this school year was to find a way to better connect UGBC and the student body,” Marchese said in an email. “Campus Voice is the best way to get instant feedback and ideas from students.”


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Connor Farley was a copy editor and news editor for The Heights. You can probably find him at a Phish show.