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Feedback Initiative Gives Springfield College Students a Say

Joe Brown

Mary-Beth Cooper began her tenure as the 13th president of Springfield College on August 28.
Mary-Beth Cooper began her tenure as the 13th president of Springfield College on August 28.

Springfield College students, your voice will be heard.

On Tuesday, Oct. 15, students received an email from Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Associate Dean of Students Terry Vecchio. The email outlined a feedback initiative that President Mary-Beth Cooper and the Student Government Association teamed up to create in order to receive input from current undergraduate and graduate students.
The initiative was first brainstormed during a luncheon that Cooper had with Student Government Association President Becca Jacobson, the Class Board presidents, the Graduate Student Organization president and other student leaders. Cooper raised the question for the group along the lines of, “If you were president for a day, what would you do?”

As ideas bounced around the room, the group eventually came to the consensus that this was a question that should not be limited to a hypothetical discussion amongst a small group of students.

“[We] came to the conclusion that the best way to serve the college is to ask the students what they need,” Jacobson said.
With that thought in mind, Cooper and the group decided to create a feedback system. Suggestion boxes with small, yellow sheets next to them are currently located at the front desk of the Richard B. Flynn Campus Union, Wellness Center, Cheney Dining Hall and Marsh Memorial, and there will be a “traveling” box as well that SGA takes around to various locations throughout the next week. Suggestions will be accepted until Wednesday, Oct. 23.

The yellow sheets list two simple questions. The first is, “If you were President, what  one change would you propose be made to improve Springfield College?” The second reads, “What is your favorite Springfield College memory?” The sheets are anonymous and the information will be confidential.

“I don’t want to change something that you as a student body believe is really crucial,” Cooper said. “But I bet there are things that each of you, if you had the ability, would change.”
SGA will be collecting the information from the boxes during the week. After it is all received, the feedback initiative will move into its next phase.

“We’re going to take all of that information…and your thoughts about what Springfield College should do to enhance your experience as a student will weigh in alongside the faculty and staff and the Trustees,” Cooper said.

Cooper plans on looking at every suggestion that is submitted to search for common themes to address. She stressed that it is important to dissect the information quickly in order to make plans on how to address students’ wants and needs.

“We can always be better,” Cooper said. “So let’s find out where those gaps are so that when we start to make decisions or appoint resources towards things that we perceive to be problematic, we identify the ones that are the highest priority.”

The system is only effective if students take advantage of the opportunity, though.

“Dr. Cooper wants to hear what the students have to say, and for a president to be that genuine about that, we are very lucky and we’re incredibly fortunate. It’s a huge opportunity for us to communicate to the president what we as students also want and what we need and what we love about this place,” Jacobson said.
All it takes to make a difference is a few minutes, a pen, a piece of yellow paper and a thoughtful response.

Let your voice be heard, Springfield College students.

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