News Brief: GW creates online help site

GW launched a new Web site August 15 called Students First, an “online road map” with links to help students answer questions about the school and access University services.

With an incoming freshman class approximately 300 students larger than last year, the University created a task force of administrators to develop recommendations about what would helpful to students, according to a letter from University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg to the GW community.

“We have initated Students First, a university-wide campaign to sustain high quality service and to provide, where called for, a more streamlined, responsive and thoughtful approach to meeting students’ needs,” Trachtenberg said in the letter.

The Web site, studentsfirst.gwu.edu, includes a homepage of frequently asked questions such as how students can buy books without standing in line and how to catch a shuttle to the Mount Vernon Campus. It also offers information on academics, living on campus, money and finance, health and safety and technology services.

“The whole Students First initiative really started last May,” said Grae Baxter, executive dean of the Mount Vernon Campus. “That’s when Trachtenberg, anticipating the record number of students coming this year, asked a group of us to look to services that effect the undergraduate experience.”

“We wanted to have a road map,” said Director of Media Relations Gretchen King. “We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel. We wanted to provide important information quickly all in a place where the students can navigate quickly to kind of streamline the process.”

Creators of the Web site plan to update the page and add questions that become relevant as they receive feedback from students on the pages positive and negative features, King said.

“As we move through the semester, different questions will become the most frequently asked questions,” she said.

Because students are the focus of the Web site, they are encouraged to fill out comment cards and to submit any compliments and criticisms, King said.
-Brian Becker

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