Student Council hosts SpeakUp U.Va. Day
President Jalen Ross encourages student participation
Student Council held its annual SpeakUpUVa Day on the Lawn Tuesday to promote SpeakUpUVa, an online forum where students can voice comments and concerns to Council representatives. Students also had the chance to directly address concerns to representatives on the Lawn.
“[SpeakUpUVa] is a tool we’ve used [for] a couple years now, [and] we’re excited to keep using it to know what’s on the minds of students,” said Council President Jalen Ross, a third-year Engineering student. “Our biggest point [for students] is to know that the tool is there and understand that the resource exists.”
Students have the opportunity to vote for posts on the website they believe merit Council’s attention. Top issues on the site currently under Council review include a proposal to add more bus stops near the International Residence College and a suggestion to build more mirrored rehearsal spaces for student dance organizations.
Representative Body Chair Abraham Axler, a first-year College student, said the website allows Council to quantify concerns to the University administration when working to address problems.
“[Quantifying issues] is often the most important thing when talking to the administration,” he said. “By increasing the engagement of SpeakUpUVa, we’ll get more of this data. We would like to see a wider community posting on SpeakUpUVa.”
Axler said the University administration wants to see this type of data before spending money to solve an issue.
“People are [sharing their concerns] already, but we want them doing it with us, because it’s easier for us to resolve their concern when we know [what] it is,” he said.
College Representative Klaus Dollhopf, a fourth-year, said though Council gets a fair number of responses on the website, SpeakUpUVa Day is one tool to bring smaller issues — and issues which tend to garner support more slowly — to light.
“The more people we can give knowledge to about SpeakUpUVa, the more feedback we can get from students, the more we can do and the more we can cater to the student body,” Dollhopf said.