Student Voice Committee seeks more active role in improving student experience

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As the UCR student body increases in number, the Student Voice Committee (SVC) sees feedback as vital in assuring the quality of campus services and create new ones that convenience the students further. The SVC is a group that chiefly devotes its time to the collection of student opinion via surveys for all UCR services. Upon compiling the data, the committee reports it to ASUCR with the hope that senators work to improve student life on campus.

SVC Chair Jeffrey Ramos wrote in an interview that the committee has been dedicated to its cause since March of 2017, but has mostly been collecting data since then for ASUCR to use. On Wednesday, April 18, however, the committee turned its focus to implementing their findings, as the committee began working with the Rivera library to extend open hours, and later with Green Campus Action Plan (GCAP), an environmentalist committee within ASUCR, to improve the Zagster bike rental program.

Ramos elaborated that the committee was mainly focused on data collection in the past because as a new committee, they needed to refine their survey process. “Now that we got … the process down, we can move more comfortably into the area of consolidating student action and overlooking ASUCR operations as a whole,” Ramos further specified.

Based on the committee’s research, students using the Rivera library late at night would find an extension of closing time from 12 a.m. to 2 a.m. to be more convenient. Implementing this change would be complicated, however, as “there are many process (sic) to account for, such as (if) personnel are available, security endeavors, and ultimately if students will come,” according to Ramos. Ramos personally believes that such an extension would benefit students if it came to fruition.

Alongside extending Rivera’s hours, the committee has been working with GCAP on improving the Zagster Bike Share program on campus, which provides bikes for students at UCR to use on campus. “According to our intel, an overwhelming amount of students expressed a concern that the bikes are constantly unavailable or under maintenance,” Ramos said. “We’ll be submitting this issue to the formal committee to look into it; there needs to be more bikes available overall.”

A specific number of complainants was unavailable, as Ramos explained that the bike survey was focused more on individual and personalized feedback, “full written accounts of the bike share program rather than a qualitative (sic) number.”

Ramos also pointed out that bikes may not be the only rental vehicle in the future. “In order to make a sizable impact on campus, the program will need to expand past its 50-ish bikes,” Ramos observed, “and we’ve taken into account current popular modes of transportation such as walking, skateboarding and scootering.” Skateboarding and scootering were proposed because students are known to use them on campus and set themselves up to be avenues of vehicles for rent. The latter was especially suggested because of what Ramos considers a “strong scooter presence” at UCR, “potentially even larger than the biking community. It’s important that we consider all options,” Ramos noted.

When asked why Rivera’s library hours and the Zagster rental service were the committee’s current foci of action, Ramos pointed out that the SVC doesn’t have enough resources or people to handle every student issue. “The library hours research provided us with a very clear route … we provided a plan of action and thus entered the meetings (with administration) with an ultimate quantifiable goal,” Ramos specified. As for the Zagster program, Ramos explained that the the rental service was a “common community resource. It impacts a number of our (students’) day to day lives and is an active, ongoing program which seeks development and improvement,” Ramos said.

On Friday, May 2, the committee met in the ASUCR offices to further discuss the plans of their group. They currently plan on strengthening their connections with the newly elected ASUCR senators through individual meetups. The SVC also intends to increase communications with other campus organizations on the surveys they have already performed. “A lot of campus resources are doing the same things we’ve done already,” Ramos noted at the meeting, “and we’re trying to better connect with those resources” to resolve the redundancy of their surveys.

The SVC meets every Friday at 5 p.m. inside the conference room of the ASUCR office (HUB 202) on the second floor of the HUB.

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