Alternative Research Project – Sequoi Phipps – Section 2
For the alternative research project, I chose to present student opinions of dining on campus to UMW Dining Services staff. I circulated a survey among students that contained questions about dining on campus this semester. The survey inquired about topics regarding what type of dining plan the respondents had, where they most frequently ate, their opinions on the changes to dining this semester, what they felt is working well and what they felt needs attention or improvement. There were 61 student responses to this survey from 1st to 4th year undergraduate students.
In order to use this information to make some type of community impact, I sent the data to dining services with explanations and analysis of each diagram. I also included some of the free responses to questions regarding what each respondent thought is working well and what needs improvement. I also attached a letter explaining what I was sending them and why I wanted to share this information with them (that letter is attached to this post).
In relation to power, I wanted to take this opportunity because I believe that, though I often feel as a student of the University of Mary Washington that my voice and opinions are not heard, that decision making departments do not often consider the opinions of the students, and that I do not have much pull as an individual student. However, I decided to use this survey to harness the voice of as many students as I could, and present those responses as one concerned voice. Though I do think that we, the students, fall very low on the ladder in reference to power on our campus, I do also think that we have a unique experience to express our opinion to those higher up and at least get some recognition.
3 thoughts on “Research Project 2 – Sequoi Phipps, Section 2 – Letter to Dining Services”
I enjoyed your presentation in class and reading through your letter. I hope that dining services gets back to you, as you put in so much work. In class you mentioned being happy that people who were generally neutral on the subject responded to the survey, as usually only those with extreme opinions take the time to fill out surveys. I, too, am glad that some of these more neutral people responded, as it shows a strong middle ground of not-too-happy but not-too-upset. I think dining services can use the more constructive feedback that you included in your letter, and I hope they do. It is interesting, though, that there is such a small amount of student involvement allowed by the University in the decision making process surrounding the food we eat, considering we pay so much for it. I am glad that you are taking this to the administration, not just Sodexo, so that something can come of your research.
I really liked your project. Even in class I thought it was interesting. I think that it was really relevant considering all of the issues students and faculty are having with dining this year. From people getting sick from the food, less options and hours. I loved that you were planning on sending your findings out. I think that’s awesome and I hope that you hear something back.
I really appreciate this project — not only because I have been more frustrated with dining services this semester than I have in past semesters, but also because of what you did with the project. The fact that you used the data you found for community engagement by sending it to dining services was really great, and I love what you said about students thinking they have no power when in truth, students can actually have a lot more power than they might think. I myself have experienced this on campus, and I think the mere knowledge that being active on campus can in fact have an impact, even a small one, is really important for people to have, so good on you for engaging!