Incentivizing ideas

We at the Record would like to applaud the Great Ideas Committee for organizing this year’s Great Ideas Campaign. An initiative that comes from and benefits the students of the College is one that should be supported, and we are happy to see that this program remains an annual occurrence.

We believe the committee’s inclusion of both College Council (CC) and non-CC members benefits the student body. CC already holds a substantial amount of power in managing student groups and projects, and allowing other members of the student body to contribute to the Great Ideas Committee makes the initiative an even better reflection of student wants and needs. Those in CC have many opportunities to create and implement proposals to enhance student life. The addition of non-CC members to the Great Ideas Campaign gives a different group of students the opportunity to do the same, thereby expanding the breadth of perspectives that shape students’ lives on campus. Past selected Great Ideas, from Superfan to the bike share program, have indeed changed campus for the better, and it is important to extend that deciding power to those who may not have had it before. Having the student body at large vote on the winning idea further expands that deciding power.

The Record would also like to commend the committee’s decision process. The offer of Tunnel City gift cards as rewards for the top three ideas is likely to encourage more participation from the student body, better raising their awareness of the initiative and thus broadening the range of proposals. Increasing publicity for the campaign year-round, rather than closer to the deciding date, would perhaps increase submissions as well. The deciding criteria of plausibility and originality are also fair, though we would suggest maintaining a list of even the less feasible ideas, as they could become more attainable in the future.

Great Ideas are funded through the surplus from student group budgets, which we believe to be appropriate, as that money was intended for student-run projects in the first place. However, we would be interested to see how creating an independent budget for the Great Ideas Campaign would change and perhaps benefit the initiative. Having a set budget could potentially allow for more ideas to be brought to fruition. We wonder whether that could even be possible now, with the budget set as the surplus. It seems that some proposals could cost very little to develop, and if several of the top five to six ideas could indeed be funded by the surplus, we believe there should be more than one project developed.

The Great Ideas Campaign is dependent on student engagement; it will only continue to flourish if we as college students continue to think of and submit ways to improve our campus experience and vote to select the best. The Record encourages the student body to participate in this year’s Great Ideas Campaign, and we look forward to seeing how our college life will be changed for the better.