Being heard in Gelman

Ever wonder who was behind the cartoon face staring at you – and challenging you to draw a mustache – inside the bathrooms of Gelman Library?

That caricature belongs to the library’s student liaison, Jenny Wiley.

“The mustache contest was a lighthearted way of getting people’s attention,” Wiley, who is a master’s student in museum studies, said. “I wanted to make sure people knew that my position existed and that I was here to help out.”

Despite the contest, many students still don’t know who – or what – the student liaison is.

“A student liaison? I don’t know what that is,” Juliana Nganele, a junior who said she has already pulled three all-nighters in Gelman. “[And] I’m here a lot, a lot.”

Freshman Max Young-Jones said he had never heard of it either.

“It might make things more comfortable, but I don’t understand the need for it,” he said.

So, what does a student liaison do? Wiley’s main job is to be the voice of the students within the library system.

“The position was created to make sure the library remained well-advised on the needs of the students,” Wiley said. She monitors student needs by replying to e-mails, fielding telephone calls and responding to the comments left in the comments box.

When Wiley started working at GW a year ago, she never thought her job would involve fishing GWorlds out of toilets. But that’s just one of her many responsibilities as the student liaison.

As the collective focus of the students shifts, so do her responsibilities.

“Last year was all about being green,” she said. “Students at GW are very passionate about being sustainable.”

After students told Wiley they wanted to be able to print double-sided pages, she worked with the technology team to make it possible.

Examples of changes made based on student feedback include the hours the library is open, the library’s food policies, the planters in front of Gelman, refurbished furniture and the number of rooms dedicated to student space, Wiley said.

Gelman also hosts monthly Student Advisory Board meetings that are open to all students who wish to express concerns, make comments or have issues addressed.

Some new initiatives to look for at the library: Releasing information about how the student Voluntary Library Gift is spent, more monthly movie screenings and Take A Break events, the de-stressing event that takes place during midterms and finals.

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