University Suggestion Box - 3 success stories

by Duncan

What do Alamo College, Georgetown University and Columbia University all have in common? They all successfully implemented some form of a suggestion box for students and faculty.

Alamo College started “Alamo Ideas” in August of 2011 for its employees. Alamo Ideas was received very well among its employees, as opposed to the alternative of staff layoffs to save money. The whole purpose of Alamo Ideas was to involve the employees in the college’s money saving future and constant need for improvement. Using an Employee Suggestion Scheme, the employees had a part in cost saving ideas for the college.

Georgetown University came up with a way to engage the students and faculty in multiple 2 hour sessions both in person and in an online community. These sessions were called the Hoya Roundtables. Once launched it was promoted by student government through the use of university emails and word of mouth. In the first year, more than 3,000 members came up with hundreds of ideas with 26,000 votes. Many money-saving ideas were put into effect which would save the university 20% in its first year and 60% every year afterwards. Rental cars were made accessible to students to save them money so they didn’t have to get their own vehicles. Many more ideas were put into play to help save the university money.

Columbia University started a community called "What to Fix Columbia" or WTF Columbia, with members consisting of those with or email addresses. They came up with a website and posted flyers around campus to get others involved. The community came up with over two-hundred ideas and brought about many significant changes including revised gate hours, redesigned walkway, opening the largest dining hall for students late at night for a new study space and installing Wi-Fi in it. They also added three more associated undergraduate school to Columbus University. The community site is also used for peers to answer each other’s questions.

Conclusion: All in all, these three universities have had great success implementing some form of a university suggestion box. Whether it is for the staff, faculty or students there have been numerous suggestions that have been put into effect throughout the universities. They have found ways to successfully promote their suggestion boxes and to bounce ideas off of each other to find ways to save money. They have also agreed on solutions to various issues the colleges were facing which have saved them all a lot of money. In the end, Suggestion Boxes do work for some universities and help them save money.

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"We wanted an online suggestion box that's easy to run and Vetter fits the bill"

Healther Saunders; ECITB Product Dev. Manager

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