Committee eyes U services

Emily Babcock

Setting up camp at the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid is probably not on any student’s wish list.
But because it is reality for many students at the University seeking financial assistance, the Minnesota Student Association has made improving the wait a priority.
Decreasing what sometimes can be painfully long lines is just one of many student services the student group aims to improve. MSA’s Student Services Improvement Committee is seeking students’ feedback via e-mail and person-to-person surveys starting spring quarter. Responses to the surveys will then be forwarded to the administration in the form of suggestions.
The committee has met since the middle of winter quarter, but is just finishing a list of services on which they will focus.
“Our goal is to recommend some changes,” said Brett Rowlett, a College of Liberal Arts sophomore and chairman of the committee. “And to bring it to their attention that the services may not be working as well as they could.”
The original idea for the committee was part of MSA President Jigar Madia’s campaign promise to decrease the wait times for students at different campus services.
But Rowlett said they expanded the idea to do whatever they could to improve services.
“This is a student-initiated effort to reform basic services across campus,” Madia said.
Complaints about a fee students with disabilities have to pay to get University library materials and about the service at Boynton Health Service are among the other issues the student group is considering.
Brooke Miller, a CLA senior and University library employee, said the service Lumina to U is offered to all staff and faculty members and students with disabilities. However, students with disabilities must often rely on library employees to reprint and mail articles to their residences because the material is not easily accessible; this costs extra money, so these students often must pay more than other students would to use the libraries.
University Libraries and Boynton are among many services the committee plans to survey this spring.
Boynton Director of Operations Gailon Roen said the clinic welcomes the use of surveys and they distribute questionnaires of their own.
“Surveys are a part of our life,” Roen said. “Certainly we’re interested in that.”
The surveys are funded by MSA, but the six-member committee is semi-independent from the association, with only three MSA members.
“We’re not on the attack,” Madia said. “We just want to take a hard look at the services and find ways to improve them.”
No solutions have been suggested yet, Rowlett said. Because the committee is only able to make suggestions, Rowlett said he is hopeful the services listen. The committee is waiting for the results from the student body in order to decide what are important issues.
“It will be as effective as the administration wants it to be,” Rowlett said.