Of the nearly 30 responses, a third of students pointed to the cost of living as the most important issue. Given recent attention to pricey dorms in comparison with local apartment options and the new junior housing requirement, this makes sense. Many students believed their dorms were overpriced and that there needs to be more affordable options. Similarly, respondents noted the lack of reasonably priced food options on campus.
Closely following, other students cited concerns with perceived large administrative expenses and a lack of transparency in university operations. In fact, recent media attention has turned to this issue. For every $1 spent on instruction, universities across the country spent $1.82 on academic support, student services, institutional support, and other categories in 2011 Stay tuned for a GWNFP blog analysis of this phenomena on campus.
Although some of the responses may seem negative, a larger portion turned their frustrations into opportunities for change and offered their solutions. Some chose to address GW’s responsibility to the community by writing “community investment in DC” and “directly hiring workers.” Others simply wrote “more transparency,” “more student services,” and “less construction, more on teachers” as other solutions.
Student voices matter and this project was just a portion of the many initiatives our organization is working on to make sure our voices are heard in budget discussions.
Here is a list of the responses we received:
"More financial aid"
"More need-based scholarships"
"Less merit scholarships for those who can already afford GW tuition"
"Smaller class sizes"
"Less construction, more on teachers"
"Community investment in DC"
"Revolving loan funds"
Administrative Issues and Increased Transparency
"Smaller administrative/managerial salaries"
"Investing in making better websites"
"Less contracting to irresponsible companies"
"Use of art students for graphic design projects"
"Directly hiring all workers (no Sodexo, Bravo, etc)"
"Zero tolerance policy on mismanagement of funds"
Housing and Dining
"Cheaper food costs"
"Better City Hall gym"
"Less-sensitive smoke detectors"
"Not the Superdorm"
"Cheaper food costs"
"Better J Street food"
"More student services"
Note: The above sample is by no means a scientific study. GW Not For Profit created this survey to better understand the priorities of students present at the Org Fair. We hope you find it interesting.