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1,000 Concerns sent to myVoice


Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014


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1,000 Concerns sent to myVoice

 

By Christopher Nicholson, staff writer, The Utah Statesman, Thursday, January 30, 2014

 

Just a few months after the myVoice online comment program debuted, student leaders are confident it is fulfilling its promise.

 

Daryn Frischknecht, Student Advocate vice president, calculated just under 1,000 submissions have been received to date.

 

“That’s a lot of voices being heard that otherwise wouldn’t have been,” she said.

 

The myVoice program, which was implemented last October [2013], promises students an opportunity to “help improve Utah State by sharing your comments, concerns or suggestions online.”

 

Casey Saxton, Public Relations director for the USU Student Association, said the new program received more than 500 submissions during its campaign week in November.

 

“It’s dropped somewhat, but we still get a handful a day,” he said.

 

“It’s made a huge impact on the administration,” said Doug Fiefia, USU/SA president. “I know they’re all on board, and it’s made a huge impact on Utah State. There’s been some changes that, without it, I don’t think we would ever have heard of them.”

 

Saxton explained how these voices are heard.  Whenever a complaint or suggestion is submitted to myVoice, it is automatically collected in a mutual email account shared by USU/SA officers.

 

The president’s cabinet then assists in filtering it into one of several categories: parking, dining, housing, activities and so on. Student body officers serve as go-betweens with administrators in these various categories to implement changes and improvements and make sure every submission is responded to in a timely manner.

 

“We’re looking at all these submissions and trying to put them into action whenever we can,” Frischknecht said.

 

One change requested by several students and now being put into action was a greater number of microwaves available at the Taggart Student Center, she said. USU/SA is currently working with administrators and Dining Services to receive approval for more microwaves, order them and secure Facilities to put them in.

 

Saxton said many submissions center around the parking and driving situation on campus.

 

“A lot of students and drivers are very concerned about the crosswalk between the HPER building and the parking terrace, especially during peak hours,” Saxton said.

 

For many of these issues there is no short-term solution, and sometimes USU/SA can only respond to such submissions with some advice to ameliorate the difficulties. However, notwithstanding it will be a slow process, Saxton said they will bring up the crosswalk concerns and advocate for them to be addressed.

 

Closer to fruition are plans to increase safety by adding stop signs and mirrors to the crosswalk between the Natural Resources building, Biology and Natural Resources building and Merrill-Cazier Library.  Saxton credited this idea to the feedback obtained through myVoice.

 

Not all submissions have to do with convenience or safety.  

 

“One concern that I think is very good is that the elevator in the parking terrace under the LLC has crude writing all over the wall,” Saxton said. “That creates a bad image for Utah State University as a whole.”

 

To submit to myVoice, Frischknecht explained, log into myUSU at my.usu.edu.  At the right of the screen is a myVoice box. Click to select “complaint,” “suggestion” or “comment,” choose which category the submission is related to, and write what it is.  

 

“A lot of people aren’t motivated to talk in person, but it’s easily accessible online whenever they have a few minutes,” Saxton said.

 

He said people with serious concerns inappropriate for an online form should talk directly to Frischknecht. When submissions are discussed amongst student officers or with administrators, student confidentiality is maintained.

 

Saxton is hopeful for the future of myVoice.  

 

“We will continue to improve the ‘back end,’” he said, referring to the process of handling submissions after they are received. “Obviously it’s a new program and still has some rough patches, but we’re continually improving it.”

 

“What we’re working on currently is making sure the process is more streamlined,” Fiefia said. “I think here in the next few weeks we will have had it to where myVoice concerns will come in, and we can almost answer the concern and get it to the administration the same day.”

 

Saxton said he hopes it will continue over time, not just this year, but next year.  

“The university administrators will know what to expect,” he said. “They’ll know that students are going to raise concerns, and USU/SA will bring them up.”

 

“Hopefully from now on the message goes out that you matter and that you have a voice and that when you send a concern it will be looked at and it can change, and there are a lot of things that have changed because of myVoice,” Fiefia said.

 

c.r.nicholson@aggiemail.usu.edu

Twitter: @alien236



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