Don’t let a good resource go to waste
Student Union has allocated an extra $91,000 to the salaries part of its operational budget, and although salaries are not disclosed, a significant portion of this increase can be attributed to a new professional staff member, technology coordinator Eric Suiter, and his necessary expenditures. Suiter will be responsible for working with student groups and overhauling the SU website. While we see this as a helpful resource, we have two suggestions to help ensure that Wash. U. students get the most out of this new position.
In order for Suiter to properly assess the technology needs of each student group, he must hear from those groups directly. For this reason, we would like to see short, organized appointments with an executive from each student group early in his tenure. These meetings could function similarly to an advising appointment to assess the group’s current situation and how it can be improved. These meetings will allow a group with specific concerns to receive tailored guidance and allow clubs without a serious online presence to learn more about how to reach more students with information about their activities.
While groups that do not devote time to websites may find these meetings inconvenient, they should consider the positive impact that an improved Internet presence could have on the recruitment of new members. For a member of the class of 2015 who is interested in a particular part of campus life, a Google search may be the first place he or she goes for relevant clubs or student-run events. Groups without a website are likely to be ignored, and those with unprofessional or confusing websites may be dismissed. Suiter, whose expertise will be devoted to SU clubs, may surprise reluctant group leaders with the improvements he can offer.
While improved online resources for individual groups will be helpful, their websites are not the only ones in need of help. The current SU website, while attractive, is nearly impossible to navigate. The site’s home page has a jumble of banners, tabbed options and tweets with SU’s latest news. With a new technology coordinator, we hope to see the site become a more user-friendly resource for student groups who depend on SU for funds and room reservations. We hope that improvements would focus largely on the site’s functionality, not its image. Groups who depend on SU should be able to locate these resources easily.
We hope these simple suggestions will allow SU’s newest resource to become an extremely practical one. Not only will Suiter be able to assist student groups, but he will allow SU to improve constituent service without depending on the University’s available technology support. Suiter will provide internal SU improvement through its website, as well as amplify the presence of countess student groups. With these suggestions, the editorial board hopes that Suiter’s assistance will mean a more advantageous, efficient use of resources to allow both SU and its student groups to reach those students they have not before.