Marissa Fretes: Bridging students and administration

There was a hole in my floor.

It was a giant hole, right in the middle of my Thurston room, filled with water, twigs and mold. We must have called FIXit more than a dozen times, and each time we were assured someone would be in to resolve the issue “soon.”

But it didn’t take long to get sick of “soon.” We went to our house proctor, who, upon taking one lone step into our room, was assured: This was an emergency. So then emergency FIXit was called. Four times.

In situations like this, the Center for Student Engagement should serve an active bridge between students and the University offices.

The CSE should not only interact with students and their individual needs. If it is tasked with handling student issues, it should be equally involved with the organizations that directly deal with students’ lives.

FIXit has a “longstanding and productive partnership with Student and Academic Support Services – specifically GW Housing, the dean of students and the Center for Student Engagement,” University Spokeswoman Jill Sankey said.

That makes sense; it is the CSE’s job to connect the administration with its students: the center takes note of student needs and then passes those concerns on to the administration.

But what’s the next step after the understanding? That’s where it’s unclear. There is a stark difference between words and actions, and as great as it is to see the CSE ask students about their needs, how exactly does any actual improvement get done?

Take FIXit for example. FIXit normally takes four to five days to respond to routine repair requests and about 24 hours to respond to emergency requests. But understandably at the start of the year, there are more requests than usual, which means that timeframe is harder to stick to.

Hence, a moldy floor for two weeks.

A FIXit that is efficient and responsive is not just a student concern, it is a student need. FIXit is directly involved in student life, and its effectiveness helps the University feel like home to new students, like myself.

The CSE should do more than take student complaints one-by-one and instead look at the bigger failings in the system.

CSE is innovative and its intentions are good. Without a doubt, the administration and its students should be closer. There needs to be an organization that exists in order to track and respond to students’ principal needs.

It turned out that our air conditioner was leaking beneath our floor, causing the tiles to bubble up and come off. The plumber who came to take a look, sighed and said, “This whole floor should’ve been replaced over the summer.”

If only.

Marissa Fretes is a freshman majoring in English.

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