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Students’ Union solicits undergrads for ideas

By Fabian Mayer, April 9 2015 — The Students’ Union is looking to the Internet for ideas to improve the University of Calgary.

The SU recently launched a webpage called SU-Blue Sky hosted on ideascale.com.

Students can post ideas and then vote for the ones they like best. The SU intends to look at implementing the best ideas.

The website keeps a running tally of the votes for and against each idea and ranks them based on popularity.

Popular ideas include improving access to Universal Student Ratings of Instruction (USRI) reports, installing more microwaves on campus and shortening SU elections.

SU president Jarett Henry came up with the idea for the website. He said he’s happy with the results so far, adding that the website has recorded 211 unique visitors and over 2,000 votes since its launch three weeks ago.

“It gives us an opportunity to get another form of feedback from students and also gives us the opportunity to comment back once in a while and provide some information,” Henry said.

Henry is looking into how he can make some of the suggestions a reality. He brought up the issue of USRI accessibility with U of C provost and vice-president academic Dru Marshall, who said she would look into it.

“That’s an example of how the site can help us learn about new priorities and advocate on behalf of students,” Henry said. He added that while it’s still good to hear what students are concerned about, many ideas aren’t feasible. Cheaper parking and more cup holders in lecture rooms are two examples.

However, he said some of the posted ideas may be implemented soon. Henry said the SU is looking into having free tampons and pads, one of the top-rated ideas, available to students. There is also a comment section for each post where students can discuss the pros and cons of each idea.

Comments can be submitted anonymously, something Henry said he isn’t worried about.

“It is the Internet so we do expect a wide variety of comments, but we’re not shying away from negative feedback. We can’t improve unless we open ourselves up to positive and negative feedback,” Henry said.

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