Let us start with this: SDSU students need to take the Campus Climate Survey. Why? Because it addresses some major questions on this campus, getting a sense of how students feel about race and gender, ethnicity and diversity, inclusiveness and accessibility. SDSU needs a good audit in these categories because there’s certainly groups on campus that have been slighted in the past. In our opinion, SDSU is deficient in these categories and it’s good that they’re working to fix them now. While The Collegian understands and agrees with the importance of the Campus Climate Survey, the execution of the survey is an issue.
There was not much previous information given out to students prior to the survey, aside from a mention in a Students’ Association meeting. Many students are not aware of what the survey actually consists of. One of the problems may lie in the way that the survey is presented. Titled “Campus Climate Survey” might leave room for interpretation by students at first glance. On the SDSU website, the survey is simply titled Campus Climate, with no reference to the fact that it is a survey measuring the overall student and faculty’s perception of their university.
There’s not a lot of information out about it and in short, it is poorly delivered. The link to the survey is sent through email but unfortunately, students don’t check their emails everyday. What we do know, however, they do check social media. If you go to SDSU’s home page, sdstate.edu, it’s nowhere to be found. For as important as this supposedly is, the university should make it easier to find. Maybe a more effective way to encourage students to take the survey would be posting a link on the well-followed SDSU social media platforms on Facebook and Twitter. The university has 25,000 likes on Facebook and can get 770 likes for a Jack-o’-lantern that is carved like the SDSU mascot but nothing for a link that actually is supposed to matter. Lack of notifications about the survey poses a problem in terms of reaching a large spectrum of students.
There has been talk of tabling on Main Street of The Union but this would not be conducive for student feedback – most people walking through The Union will not have enough time to properly fill out the survey. The sensitivity of the subject matter can make students uncomfortable filling the survey out in a public place. Also, having staff administering the survey around students while they fill out the survey could lead to skewed results.
The survey, and its results, are important to the growth and expansion of SDSU. What this survey yields is a large factor on future policies and programs the university will craft for the betterment of students. If diversity and a more pleasant campus are important to students, they’ll take this survey seriously.
Given the importance of the survey, does the university have to be vague with the description of the survey itself? Students are less likely to take a survey they know nothing about. Ignorance of what the survey is trying to measure can result in low turnout. With the need for a large sample size of 4,000, positing the importance of the survey should be emphasized more.
Come May 2014, what will the students and faculty gather from the results of the survey? What is the delivery method of the results? Will they be presented in a lengthy, statistic driven document or will it be delivered in layman’s terms so to speak? How will these results determine what the university does in the future?
Stance: We agree that the survey is an important tool to judge the campus climate but if it is so important, more steps should be taken to ensure students are fully aware of the survey and that the marketing of the survey should executed more effectively.