Priorities:Western Michigan University Student Priorities
Overview of Strategies
Western Michigan University has many opportunities for different types of innovation on campus, for example, the annual pitch competition, the Innovation Club, and our campus makerspace. While we recognize all of the amazing opportunities for innovation already present here at Western, we have also come to understand the endless potential our university has for growth. As University Innovation Fellows, we have gained access to more resources than we knew existed. Here we present what exactly those improvements are, so that we may positively begin to impact the student experience.
Marketing for Campus Connections
There is a lack of cohesive marketing of the WMU values within campus and even externally. We are a top 100 research university, but students aren’t always taking advantage of these opportunities. How do we start asking the right questions? The previous UIF group is trying to assuage this need with the Think Big campaign. Helping them continue to grow in this process and supporting the university in this endeavor is the best way to continue to grow in this area. We aim to drum up support and attendance for events like town hall meetings.
Improving Campus Culture
C^3 is an initiative to connect students to each other and to peer mentors who can aid in the overall understanding of an individual topic. This helps create an environment of learning and teamwork. Western is a community of well rounded students, focused on expanding themselves beyond the traditional student expectations. Students today are pressured from all angles to improve constantly. This kind of pressure can cause a lot of students to isolate themselves within their major, becoming disconnected from the rest of campus because they are so focused on trying to keep themselves a float with grades and adulthood. A lot of students who feel outside of campus culture are not likely to continue their education at Western. By creating a culture focused on collaboration and innovation, we will not only improve the lives of students but our university as a whole. We intend to create a group of talent seekers who find students at Western with great, new, innovative ideas and then recognize them on a platform like Instagram or YouTube. A student committee nominating and putting the spotlight on their peers.
There’s isn’t currently a space on campus that’s inviting and nature heavy, that’s conveniently available to all students.There are links to mental wellness studies and gathering students in one place will naturally lead to group socialization. Providing these groups with the tools they need to be productive with each other, which is also key to building bridges across disciplines.Interdisciplinary Collaboration on campus could be highly benefitted by a space that draws students regardless of major or course of study. The escape into nature aspect built in with an open productive space could exponentially augment the students interactino with each other, leading to a more cohesive and well rounded campus collective. Something like aGreen Lounge, a greenhouse inspired atrium with links to mental wellness that draws students from a variety of majors, and which also spurs interest in the Finch Greenhouses.
As students and faculty alike, we can all agree that Western is a place that has served as a cornucopia of academic expansion for students across all disciplines. That being said, there is still a misconception that students are more proud of their extra curricular Saturday nights than of their academic prowess. The nickname of “Wastern” can be incredibly detrimental and damaging to the University's reputation, especially when we look to recruit academically focused innovators. We need to prevent these potential changemakers and those already at Western from looking at other universities because of our less than professional reputation. Not only are we turning students away from our University, but we noticed that current student accomplishments are being swept under the rug as talk of boozy tailgates take center stagae. Internally, WMU needs more recognition of its students for the great work they are doing. Some colleges within the University currently spotlight their students on Instagram pages and others have professors nominate their best students for a scholarship or award. But what about those students who are working on their brilliant ideas on their own, and only can be recognized by their peers?
Engaging students through their most used devices, their phones, is an area many universities are struggling to catch up with, WMU included. Students need a way to interact with their Universities in a more streamlined and well designed process than currently available, something that can do anything from navigating them to class to letting them know which classes to avoid registering for at the same time. Solutions could address issues such as: Dorm access, Digital IDs, paying for things on campus, like BroncoPay, a DegreeWorks revamp, class search/ recommendation/ review feature.