Nearly half of underclassmen complete survey gauging student experience

Media Credit: Photo Illustration by Jack Fonseca

Georgette Edmondson-Wright, the associate vice provost for student success, said her office counted 41 percent participation in a student experience survey from sophomores and 49 percent for freshmen.

Nearly half of freshmen and sophomores provided feedback to officials about lacking school spirit and their time adjusting to college in a survey sent to students last month.

Officials said about 49 percent of freshmen and 41 percent of sophomores completed the Student Temperature Survey, open to all first- and second-year students from Oct. 1 to Oct. 22 to check in on their experience, classes and personal health. Students who filled out the survey said they are enjoying their time at GW in general but hope officials can boost the sense of school spirit on campus.

Georgette Edmondson-Wright, the associate vice provost for student success whose office administered the survey, said the survey will be used as a “primary tool” to identify priorities for supporting students.

“First we use this data to identify students who may require additional support from advisers, residential life staff and the Office for Student Success team, as student responses indicate,” she said in an email.

The survey included eight questions that asked students to rate how they feel about their courses, to describe their friendships and to evaluate their personal health and well-being. The survey was sent to students through email.

Edmondson-Wright said her office is “already” working on releasing the information to administrators so they can better serve students with the needs they have indicated.

University spokeswoman Crystal Nosal said the survey asked questions about “critical factors” impacting the student experience, including feelings of “connection,” “engagement” and academic satisfaction.

She said Office for Student Success employees and other “campus stakeholders” will use the information to guide efforts to support “students of concern.”

“Research indicates that first- and second-year students experience similar challenges academically and socially and that these first two years are the most critical in ensuring a successful college experience,” Nosal said in an email.

More than 10 students who responded to the survey said they hope officials use their feedback in their decision-making to enhance a sense of school spirit.

Isabella Baugher, a freshman studying political science, said she is glad officials created the survey and thinks it will help officials better understand the needs of current and future students because it allows students to give direct feedback about their experience.

“If we don’t tell them, how are they supposed to know?” she said.

Baugher said she told officials in the survey that her overall experience as a student at GW has been good, but it has taken a while for her to feel at home in the new city atmosphere.

“So far, it’s been a good experience, but I am still adjusting,” she said. “Adjusting has taken longer than I expected it to.”

Baugher said her feedback in the survey is straightforward, so it should not be difficult for officials to identify student concerns.

Some students said they told officials that students tend not to have the pride in their school that one might find at another college or university.

Julia Arnsberger, a freshman in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, said her first three months at GW have been “so nice” but added that she can feel a strong school spirit is missing from her overall experience.

“I would have to agree that the school spirit is lacking,” she said.

Nica Albertson, a freshman in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, said she told officials that GW feels “unconventional,” and she feels more like a resident of the District than a student at the University, which she says both empowers her but makes her wish for a traditional college experience at times.

“We are lacking school spirit, and I don’t really feel like I’m at a university,” Alberston said. “It’s more real here, which has its pros and cons.”

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