Which matters most to you: undergraduate research opportunities, greener solutions on campus or higher wages for campus employees? Do you think Northwestern needs more environmental studies classes or are you more concerned about getting a U-Pass?
These questions and more are what the Undergraduate Budget Priorities Committee wants to answer. The committee’s purpose to is to learn the issues that are important to students and then to present its findings to university administrators at the end of winter quarter. Their annual survey, which was released on Sunday, is one way in which UBPC assesses students’ priorities.
Weinberg senior Anil Wadhwani has served on the eight-member committee since his freshman year. He said the administrators the group speaks with are responsible for deciding how to allocate the university’s funds, and UBPC serves as the student voice in that process.
While they hope that every student responds to the survey, the committee has no specific expected number of respondents. Last year, more than 2,000 students completed the survey, and their responses were an important factor in the proposal to administrators.
“We make our recommendations based on student interest and demand,” Wadhwani said. “We also take into account the available resources of the university and how much certain items will cost.”
UBPC received many of the ideas on the survey from a “campus brainstorm” that all students were invited to participate in via email during fall quarter. Student leaders and university administrators often offer suggestions. UBPC also hosted three open forums during fall quarter and will host student focus groups in the coming weeks. After receiving a response from administrators toward the end of spring quarter, the committee will turn to evaluating the effectiveness of its proposal to help shape future recommendations.
The committee’s past accomplishments involved changes at Norris, facilities improvements and moving A&O’s concert to Welsh-Ryan arena. All of these were initiated by students and well-received by administrators, according to Wadhwani.
“The point of the survey is to take all of those issues and put them into one place where people can engage in them, think about them critically and decide what is most important to them,” Wadhwani explained. “This is the opportunity for every student to voice their opinion, to participate in university decision-making and to make a real impact in the future of the university.”