Being a student has its perks, but there are many hardships and challenges as well. A new initiative at the University of Calgary is trying to address these issues by gathering student input.
The Bright Ideas Campaign is looking for ideas to improve student life at the U of C.
If students have any ideas about how the U of C campus can improve, they can submit them through an online form at su.ucalgary.ca. Members of the Students’ Union will decide which ideas will be implemented.
SU president Hardave Birk said the Bright Ideas Campaign is a way to look at the diverse issues students face and how students think the school can be improved.
The selected initiatives will be financed through Quality Money, the Campus Improvement Fund and the SU Sustainability Board.
“It’s our new marketing campaign for three of the funds we have had for the last few years. The cool thing is all three of these funds target different areas on campus,” said Birk. “We’re just looking for students who have ideas on how we can improve services or things the university is missing right now that we need.”
This year, Quality Money has funded the Peer Roamers Program — the student assistance program in the Taylor Family Digital Library — and upgrades to the arch and sign at the entrance of the U of C.
The Campus Improvement Fund improves faculty-specific issues. In the past year, this fund provided new computers for the Education Students Association Lounge and suicide prevention training courses for students in the faculties of nursing and social work. The SU Sustainability Board funds awareness and educational projects for sustainability.
“This year, our approach is to let students know, hey, if you have a really good idea for something that could improve your experience, your faculty or the U of C as a whole, let us know,” said Birk. “No matter what idea you have to improve the U of C, student life or the student experience, we have a fund that matches your idea and we can put it in place.”
Birk said student input is important for all decisions made at the U of C and these three funds make it easier to address students’ concerns.
“The thing that makes these funds really unique is the fact that they are student-led. There’s a lot of money being spent on campus for where the administration sees a need. This is an opportunity for students to do the same thing,” said Birk.
Second-year U of C music student Jocelyn Rama said the U of C needs to focus on using space more efficiently.
“I think that one of the things that would be really nice is to have more dedicated study space because it’s a challenge to find places to work,” said Rama. “[The U of C] should really use space more effectively.”
First-year nursing student Kuade Bruce said there should be better food options.
“I think the input of the students is important because we are the ones who go here, who have to deal with all the problems and we know first-hand how to deal with the issues. We should also be able to make some of the decisions,” said Bruce.
Several ideas have already been submitted, but Birk hopes more students will participate in the program.
“We’re looking for absolutely anything. Students can really drive change and leave a legacy on campus,” said Birk.