Blitz gauges campus values

Results of College Council’s (CC) Budget Blitz survey are in, with responses from 700 students. The survey, which was distributed in dining halls and online last week, revealed that “classroom experience” ranked highest on students’ lists of which programs they value most at the College. The purpose of the survey was to determine “general trends about what programs are most important to students’ lives on campus,” according to Mike Tcheyan ’10, CC co-president.

The five runner-up categories on the list all received “large and proximate amounts of voting,” Tcheyan said. These programs were, in order of most to least votes received, study abroad, textbook options, varsity sports, dining and housing.

CC members did not release exact numbers resulting from the survey because they had trouble merging the two different versions: the paper survey asked students to rank their top three priorities, and the online version had respondents rank their top 14.

Tcheyan emphasized that CC’s goal was to study trends, not analyze specific percentages, and use the results to fuel budget decisions in the future. “Not simply the top three are going to be saved; the survey just reinforces perceived student priorities,” said Lizzy Brickley ’10, CC co-president.

“For CC, it was exciting to see how important textbook options are in student lives,” Tcheyan said. “CC will work hard to expand the successful textbook reserve program that was set up by the previous CC administration under Peter Nurnberg ’09 and Jeremy Goldstein ’09.”

The programs receiving the least number of votes were co-op housing and First Days/Ephventures. Tcheyan attributed this to the fact that these programs that affect only a small percentage of students within the Williams community (seniors and incoming freshmen, respectively).

“CC maintains that these programs are essential ingredients of student life; they’re just not at the forefront of students’ minds,” he said. Amanda Weatherhead ’12, Sage Hall CC representative, clarified that although such programs received few votes, they will not be eliminated.

Tcheyan and Brickley noted that financial aid was not on the list because “it is such a core value of this institution.” In addition, activities such as student-formed groups were not listed because they receive funding from the student activities tax, which was guaranteed for next year. “CC and these student groups should not suffer from losses in funding,” Tcheyan said.

Questions regarding financial aid and student groups arose on comments posted on the online surveys. Brickley said, “We encourage students to communicate with College Council on budget issues and can e-mail us at protectwilliamslife@gmail.com.”

The results of the survey have will be presented to the Ad Hoc Committee on Budget Priorities and have already been communicated to the administration through Dean Merrill.