TSG hosts first online feedback forum

The monthly forums will be filmed live and posted on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.

Temple Student Government hosted a Live Feedback Forum last week, during which questions submitted by students were answered by Charlie Leone, the executive director of Campus Safety Services, through Facebook and Twitter livestreams.

This was the first in a series of monthly online feedback forums that are designed to give students access to high-level university officials.

At the forum last Tuesday, Irene Cedano, TSG’s director of campus safety, asked Leone questions about TU Alerts, Flight — the on-campus shuttle system — and if security was heightened after Jenna Burleigh’s death. Burleigh was killed near Main Campus during the first week of Fall 2017, police say.

“I really thought [the livestream] was a good idea,” Leone said. “It wasn’t something I’d ever heard of or done before. It gave me a new perspective on reaching students.”

Melissa Eisgrau, TSG’s director of academic affairs, began working with TSG’s administration on the feedback forums during the summer, she said. The forums fulfill part of the administration’s platform “to promote transparency.”

A different university official will be interviewed each time.

“We’re choosing people who students are interested in hearing from that aren’t easily accessible,” Eisgrau said.

In future months, Eisgrau plans to invite officials from offices like Study Abroad, Dining Services and the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, Advocacy and Leadership.

Eisgrau chose Leone to be the first university official on the feedback forum because she thought raising awareness about campus safety was important, especially with new freshmen on campus.

“We knew he’d be willing to be our first guest and be the first person to come in,” she added.

One student gave feedback instead of a question for the first session about Campus Safety Services, saying an officer asked for their number during a walking escort.

“That’s the furthest thing I want to happen, so I brought their supervisor and the management in and we talked through that,” Leone said.

“We always hope that if anything like this happens that people let us know so we can investigate it and take somebody and hold them responsible,” he added. “I can tell you that something like that would have some very negative consequences.”

Students submitted questions through an online form, which was promoted by TSG on social media.

To record student organization representatives’ attendance at the General Assembly meeting on Sept. 25, TSG required them to submit questions.

“We had questions planned beforehand,” Eisgrau said. “But we knew the people who attended the GAs were the ones with more questions. I’m planning on trying to [take attendance] that way next month.”

In total, TSG received about 50 questions, Eisgrau said.

The Facebook video currently has about 530 views, and the Twitter video has about 400 views as of Monday. Eisgrau said she wants to boost live views next month with more social media promotion. She also wants to upload next month’s forum to YouTube, in addition to the livestreams.

Holding an in-person forum would have been inconvenient, Eisgrau said, which is why TSG wanted to hold the forums online.

“It could get messy with people asking questions both online and in person,” she said. “We want people to scroll past it on Facebook…and watch it.”

She also wanted it to remain online so students could go back and rewatch it if they miss the livestream, she added.

Participating in the livestream gave Leone ideas for how his office can market themselves on social media, he said.

“It’s about how we communicate,” he said. “How can we push information out and how can we receive the best response from the community?”

The livestream questions also prompted him to reexamine Flight’s efficiency. Students have complained in the past that the Flight app and service is slow and poorly run, leaving them without a safe way home at night. Last summer, Campus Safety searched for someone to supervise the system in order to improve it.

“We’re going to start looking at if there’s an alternative or some better way of doing this,” Leone said. “We might want to look to other vendors, apps, that sort of thing that we feel are more proven. It was one of those ‘no good deed goes unpunished’ things.”

Eisgrau is already planning for next month’s forum and hopes it will be easier to invite campus officials to join their livestream in future months.

“Now that we have one under our belts, it’s easier to show everyone what our vision is,” she said.

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