Taking the opinions of students on how the college can improve is how the members of the Student Leadership Council spent its meeting on campus March 12. TLC is made up of student representatives from each campus club, plus at-large members.
The topic that seemed to come up most often was student parking. Some suggestions included a parking garage, or even a cover for parking.
“Most days, if not every day, I discover that there are not enough parking spaces,” said Stu Harvey, executive director of Planning and Research.
“A three- or four-level parking garage has been discussed and re-discussed, but the major issue with a garage is the expense,” he said.
Other suggestions included earlier drop dates for students, a bigger fitness center, a redesign to the entrance exam, sidewalks from student parking, an economics lab, a school nurse for students who cannot afford health insurance, and smart phone apps for classes.
The way the school operates, builds new building, and creates a better lifestyle for students is all part of the OCCC Strategic Plan, which the college is revisiting, Harvey said.
“It’s a 10-year plan but we update it every five years,” he said. “I don’t really get to see, hear, talk, and be around the students as much as I should be. So it’s always fun for me to get to be here.” said Harvey.
Harvey said the last strategic plan was designed by a relatively small group of members and was put together quickly.
“I think it was a good plan,” Harvey said, “but it really did not have any input from the wide variety of the college stakeholders, of which the students are the most important.”
Harvey brought data to the meeting for the students to reflect on, which he captured on yellow slips of paper.
These statistics included a variety of topics such as cultural differences among the student body, dropout rates, high seasons of bookstore sales, graduation rates, and other topics that could be easily discussed by everyone there.
Harvey wanted the students to place the yellow slips of paper on giant white sheets to see just how the students would prioritize the issues OCCC can focus on. Along with the yellow slips, Harvey wanted the students to write down their own issues on blue note cards, so they could also be placed with the issues contained on the yellow slips.
Cynthia Jones, student member from Career Transitions department, said it wasn’t a difficult task at all.
“It’s my first time to come to a meeting,” Jones said. “It’s a great way to get student input, but it’s a shame it only happens every five years.”
The next meeting will be used to discuss the steps the school should take to fix the problems and improve on the ideas the students contributed.
Anyone can attend the next meeting which will be at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, March 29.
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