SGA launches DearDoc
The Student Government Association has launched #DearDoc, a new student advocacy initiative that allows students to submit concerns and potential improvements to the University online.
The #DearDoc campaign was created to increase the SGA’s awareness of student concerns, and was rolled out through a series of events on Monday.
#DearDoc makes student advocacy more formal through social media, Marissa Schickling, the SGA Director of Academic Affairs, said.
“We’re taking what we do now and putting it into one cohesive unit,” Schickling said. “We’re moving forward.”
Students can tweet #DearDoc or post their concerns directly to deardoc.towson.edu, which students can access with their NetID. The SGA transfers tweets to the website. Students can also vote on whether they agree or disagree with these concerns on the website. SGA members review this, put the most valid concerns under “In Review,” and then investigate them. Students can track the progress of ideas through the website, too.
The SGA currently devotes a portion of their meetings to discuss student concerns that SGA members have informally heard about.
Junior Ben Giuliana stopped by the event on Monday after hearing about it from his friends in SGA. He has high hopes for the success of #DearDoc.
“As an advertising major, I know that hashtagging is a very popular way to get attention,” Giuliana said.
SGA Director of University Communications Kurt Anderson is one of the pioneers of the #DearDoc campaign. He worked to acquire the software IdeaScale for the website and runs the website along with other SGA members. Anderson said #DearDoc was developed in part because of the new student group policy that went into effect last year. This policy made it so that the SGA no longer votes on whether or not student groups are allowed on campus. Student groups must meet certain requirements, which gives the SGA more time to focus on issues like advocacy.
“We’re trying to fill that gap,” Anderson said.
#DearDoc was also inspired by the national campaign WTF, or “What to Fix.” Universities, including the University of Maryland, College Park, have implemented this initiative that focuses on advocacy. According to Anderson, the SGA knew they wanted to use some form of social media, which led to #DearDoc.
“[The SGA’s] mission is to advocate for the student body,” Anderson said.
Since the launch of #DearDoc on Monday, about 20 concerns have already been posted to deardoc.towson.edu. At least one of these has recently been put under “In Review.”