The Student Association wants to hear directly from students about what work the group should prioritize.
A new part of the SA’s website, called GW-Voice, allows students to post ideas of what they would like the group to work on, and students can then “up-vote” ideas they agree with. SA leaders said the format will make it easier to see which topics are most important to the student body.
SA Executive Vice President Thomas Falcigno said the website’s new feature will provide clear indications of what students want improved at GW, based on topics students introduce on the site and how many agree.
“It allows us to actually get hard numbers in terms of how many students actually want to see an issue addressed,” Falcigno said. “It really gives us another avenue to gather the student voice and advocate on behalf of students.”
Virtual access to students will not only ensure that SA senators are introducing resolutions on behalf of the students they represent but can also provide a platform for smaller-scale issues, like adding bike racks to academic buildings, that affect students’ daily lives, he said.
The SA will begin marketing the site this month and representatives from the group will moderate it to filter out inappropriate recommendations, Falcigno said. There will be no way to “down-vote” or give a negative reaction, he added.
Falcigno added that Sen. Brandon Bernier, SEAS-G, originally introduced the idea of adding a virtual feedback option to the SA’s website.
The new aspect of the site comes after several SA senate leaders ran campaigns based on inclusion and accessibility for students, citing past senates that didn’t accurately represent students’ interests.
SA President Erika Feinman said the feature will encourage students from outside the SA to explore other parts of the group’s website.
“I think one of the great things about GW-Voice is it will really draw students to look at the SA website,” Feinman said. “It is now interactive, and so the hope is that when they come to look at GW-Voice, they will stick around and look at other things.”
Alexa Zogopoulos, the treasurer of the Progressive Student Union, said adding a feature designed for direct student outreach will make students feel more involved in the SA, which can sometimes seem inaccessible.
“It sounds like a sincere and genuine attempt to include the student body in issues we should have a say in,” Zogopoulos said.
The majority of GW’s peer schools, like New York University and American University, do not yet offer online feedback options for their student governments.
Northeastern University has a feedback option on their website to contact their student government representatives with any questions or concerns. The Student association at the University of Colorado also offers an online feedback form to its concerned students.