Student Advisory Board seeks to bridge gap between students, administrators

by Erin Dahl ,

If there’s anything Joey Good ’16 knows about students, it’s that they want to be heard.

That’s why he — along with Thao Tran ’18 — formed the Student Advisory Board this fall. Working in collaboration with the Office of Campus Life, the group aims to foster effective, two-way communication between students, staff and administrators.

So far, the board — seven female and three male students representing all class levels — has hosted a listening session with students and administrators to discuss inclusivity on campus. Similar talks planned for this semester will address campus safety, school pride and mental health resources.

“Students have a lot to say and a lot they want to accomplish,” Good says. “We want to give them a chance to talk with administrators in an open setting.”

Breaking Barriers

Good says students often feel excluded from the university’s decision-making process, especially when they are affected by those decisions — such as the closure of Zena Farm and the recent implementation of a smoke-free campus.

But through the Student Advisory Board, he hopes the situation will change. Campus Life Dean David Douglass agrees the board is helping him connect with the student body, as well as improve the clarity and transparency of the university’s policies and procedures. 

“Many of the university’s programs and initiatives can’t be a success without student buy-in,” he says. “Information and feedback needs to flow in both directions.”

Fostering Communication 

The Student Advisory Board hopes to host monthly listening sessions, where administrators will visit informally with students. It will submit a report on the sessions to Douglass and share meeting highlights with the student body through mass emails, the Bearcat Bulletin and on its own webpage.  

To further enhance communication with students, board members host regular office hours — both in the Bistro and in the University Center. They also read anonymous feedback forms submitted through their website. 

By increasing and enhancing the communication channels between students and administrators, Good is optimistic their relationships will strengthen.

“The way to solve problems is not to close off your mind,” he says. “It’s to sit down with the other side, to start talking, and to find some common ground. I think that’s perfectly reasonable and achievable.”

To reach the Student Advisory Board, fill out an anonymous form on its website. Good and Tran, who co-chair the board, are also available Mondays and Wednesdays from 4-6 p.m. and Fridays from 3-4 p.m. in the board’s third-floor office in the UC.