Twice a year, once during the fall semester and once during the spring semester, ASWU, under direction of the student body president, conducts a climate survey. The purpose is to find out what students consider to be the current controversial issues around campus. This semester, students both on and off campus were asked four questions, each pertaining to communication methods between ASWU and the students, what activities students would like to see, issues that are important and opinions on facilities in the new recreation center planned to open fall 2013.
“There are several goals or reasons that we do these,” ASWU president Eric Fullerton president, said. “One of the main reasons is to inform ASWU of what is important or what the student body is thinking of so that we know what programs or events should be highlighted.”
In the past, homosexuality was an issue of discussion at Whitworth. In response, ASWU brought Andrew Marin, a pastor reaching out to the homosexual community, to speak at Whitworth.
From the survey, the student body leaders learn what the current students want to talk about, what’s important to them, and how to best serve them through activities and events.
Each time the survey is conducted, four questions are selected from a traditional pool of questions. The questions are chosen by the executives of ASWU and Dayna Coleman, the assistant dean of students. The questions are designed to find out what the student body considers the topics in need of discussion around campus.
“Another main reason that we do the survey is to promote transparency and to see ASWU active around campus,” Fullerton said. “They get to meet people and coordinators, and executives and media heads,”
“When ASWU members make an effort to come out to things like dinner, they are able to find a wider group of people,” junior Margaret Claassen said. “And that makes students feel involved because they want our feedback,”
On campus, information was gathered from students by members of ASWU with clipboards asking passersby for their opinions. Off-campus residents were surveyed through email.
This semester, the first question asked students for the best method to communicate events and announcements to them. The on-campus majority answered that email was best.
The second and third questions on the survey asked students what they wanted to see happen on campus and important issues to deal with. The majority of on-campus students replied that they wanted to see more concerts and comedians come to campus, and they thought the biggest issue was economic status.
“The large concern was economic issues, so I am trying to plan an event on socioeconomic status, because that’s an area of diversity that’s not talked about too much,” said Brittany Roach, special events coordinator for ASWU.
The last question asked students which facilities they wanted to see included in the new recreation center slated to be completed in the fall of 2013. From a list of options, the majority of on-campus participants said they would like a climbing wall to be included in the building.
“Another minor goal is when we have all of this information we can send it to different offices and administrations to inform them of what’s important to the student body,” Fullerton said. “If we think gender issues are the big issue and that’s not what the student body is talking about it makes us an inaccurate representation of the student body, which we are supposed to be.”
By Kelly Johnson