Student Council Works to Create Comprehensive Guide

Imagine an online page where you could find any information about student resources you needed, all offered by the college. That page is the goal of Tony Lee ’15 and Jason Heo ’15, the Student Council members in charge of developing a student resource guide that will consolidate information on everything from obtaining grants for summer projects to reserving a space for a party to contacting Workbox.“Because of our lack of knowledge, we are not able to utilize everything the College has to offer,” said Heo.“A lot of students have questions about certain things,” said Lee.  According to a Student Council survey sent out last week, many students feel like they are either not aware of or do not know how to use many of the resources the college provides. Although a range of issues were mentioned, the most perplexing was finding funding for various activities like student group events, parties, and speakers.“A lot of people don’t realize what the Lang Center has to offer,” said Heo, referencing one of the project’s goals to facilitate student attempts to implement social change. “Information on this isn’t centralized,” said Lee. “We want to make it easier for students to do what they want to do.”

The “Student Resource Guide” stemmed from the need to find an alternative method of dispensing information, as the current word-of-mouth system is not very effective. Student Council has been discussing updating the orientation handbook since last semester. It was not until the recent survey, however, that they realized that unawareness and disuse of College resources was not limited to first-year students and that an all-encompassing guide should be available to the entire student population.

Currently, Lee and Heo say the plan is to establish the guide as an extension of the College website, as either a PDF or Wiki-page hosted by the Swarthmore College Computer Society, with limited hard copies. “We want an entirely student-compiled source,” said Lee, a desire that makes the wiki more amenable. Nevertheless, a survey done by Student Council of other colleges and universities found that Wiki-pages were not a very common medium for student resource guides.

Independent of format, the goal is for the guide to be visible and utilized. “A lot of people restrict themselves to the Dash,” said Heo.

Akshaj Kuchibhotla ‘16 said he has had issues with the college website in its current format. “It could be improved, it’s not very well structured,” he said, “when I first looked at the website, it was very daunting.” Unsurprisingly, Kuchibhotla thinks a new, centralized page would be extremely useful.

According to Lee, there has been overwhelming support for the guide. “The biggest problem we face is how to make it sustainable,” he said, citing the constant change within the student population and the need for future generations to continue updating information.

Although still a work in progress, Lee and Heo have said that their goal is to implement the guide by the beginning of next year. “It would be great to get it up by next year’s orientation,” said Heo, “just to have it present, not necessarily to give it out.”

A link to a suggestion box for Student Council can be found under their heading on the Dash.

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