The Student Representative Council is inviting students to have a say in the policy-making on campus by joining focus groups beginning May 11.
“We’re really switching the way we’re doing SRC,” said John Erekson, one of the SRC coordinators and a senior studying communication. “So it’s more directed on getting feedback from the students to either SRC, the middleman or to the administration.”
Erekson said the focus groups are meant to establish a more accurate chain of communication with the entirety of the student body.
He said that with the pioneering of focus groups this semester, SRC is trying to create group sizes and locations where a diverse population of student voices can be heard.
“(The administration) is really trying to include students in the process of the decisions they’re making,” Erekson said. “The focus groups really will affect the outcome.”
Benjamin Craig, a freshman studying economics, is working with Erekson to organize the focus groups in order to help students learn about how to have their voices heard.
“We go to a university that is directly focused on the students,” Craig said. “The administration, the faculty, the professors — they’re all focused on making this a student-driven university.”
Craig said these focus groups have two purposes: first, to hear of the blessings and good things that students are experiencing on campus, and second, to hear their opinions on what they feel could be different or better.
“Students have a unique perspective because we’re the ones studying,” Craig said. “We’re the ones living it, and if we’re able to hear students’ opinions, it could be much easier for the administration to make those certain decisions that affect the students.”
Craig said the students should feel that their voice can be heard.
Erekson said he believes change should be constant. He said student-run organizations help the flow of new ideas and information that change the university, and those ideas can always make the university better.
“Everybody has their own stewardship and responsibilities,” said Andrew Smith, the SRC director and a sophomore studying biochemistry. “We come in everyday and everyone has assignments to work on.”
Smith said that even though he is studying biochemistry, the experience of SRC is beneficial no matter what a person is studying.
Smith, as director of SRC, reports anything that goes on in SRC to the administration and President Gilbert. Smith said the chain of information is all meant to benefit students.
“I sit on his executive council, and I can put anything on the agenda that I feel is important,” Smith said. “The focus groups will be going on throughout campus, and students will talk about their experience in school. If we get a big enough amount and we identify a common concern or issue, that’s when I would bring it up to President Gilbert on that council.”
Alaura Millet, the secretary of the SRC and a sophomore studying music, said student feedback ranges everywhere from changes in tuition to I-Learn 2.0 and 3.0.
“Student Rep Volunteers meet for two hours each week,” according to the BYU-I Student Rep Volunteer Web page. “Student Rep Volunteers use an online database program to sort, summarize and discuss students’ responses to open-ended survey questions.”
Erekson said that, with the up-and-coming hope of focus groups, student volunteers will be able to interact with students more directly.
Smith said the members of SRC are volunteers and none of the council members are receiving credit from classes to participate.
“It’s just a way of knowing that I’m helping something every week,” Millet said
“Everyone’s motivation is purely service,” Smith said. “What we’re trying to accomplish is to better the culture and better the environment for students. There’s a huge thrill when you get to talk to students, figure out their experience and then counsel with the administration on how we can improve. That’s the thrill, and that’s everyone’s motivation.”