USenate Student Affairs Committee Releases Results Of Quality Of Life Survey

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Last April, the USenate Student Affairs Committee (SAC), led by Senators Matthew Chou and Akshay Shah, sent out Columbia’s first-ever University-wide Quality of Life survey. The survey garnered over 6,250 responses (a response rate of 17.1%) to questions about financial aid, housing, academics, adminstration, health services, and other wellness issues. Now, (almost a year later) SAC has released the final result: a report of analysis and conclusions about the Quality of Life Survey’s data.

The most pertinent results:

The whole report is a whopping 84 pages long, so the SAC kindly made up a presentation of the most interesting and urgent results. You can read the whole report here and find the presentation here.

The survey found that, overall, on a scale of -3 (“very dissatisfied”), 0 (“neutral”), and 3 (“very satisfied”), Columbia students are 0.87 satisfied. What does this mean? Well, maybe one way to think of it is that if Deantini asked all of us to donate three dollars to our Senior Funds, we would actually donate only 0.87 dollars. Or maybe if we were asked to sing three rounds of Roar Lion Roar at a football game, most of us would stop after “sons of Knickerbocker rally ’round”. Probably both of those are bad ways to think about it, though.

Students felt most positive about Libraries, Transportation, Safety and Academics. Bwog’s recommendation for when you’re feeling disillusioned with Columbia: Take a campus shuttle to a library to do some work, while appreciating how you’re not getting mugged.

Students felt the most negative about Funding (financial aid), Availability of Space, Fitness Services and the Administration. So if you find yourself cursing PrezBo while jogging around Low because there’s not enough space in Dodge but you still want to get some exercise to distract you from your bank account, know you’re not alone.

Undergraduate Students Satisfaction

Undergraduate Students Satisfaction

Undergraduates were almost half as satisfied as the rest of the student population with mental health. The SAC Senators are concerned about this and hope to make it a priority.

Another issue that the Senators highlighted was space. Since both the Barnard Library (the Wollman Library in the Lehman building, yes), and the library in Mudd will be under construction soon, students will soon face a library space crunch. Hopefully survey data will help drive decisions about how library space is configured.

The Future:

The SAC plans to conduct the survey every two years. The USenate will vote on whether or not to permanently adopt the survey at Friday’s plenary. Future editions of the survey may be changed to make it quicker to fill out. The SAC hopes that they can use the data collected in the future to chart how the University’s policies are making life better or worse for its students.

The data from the survey will help administrators make decisions which will benefit the student body, and therefore lets students influence those decisions. The SAC has already presented survey data to the Trustees’ subcommittee on student life. According to the SAC’s press release, the Trustees discussed the survey and cited some of its findings as informing their work.

The SAC is also open to sharing the survey dataset with the Columbia community. A data release policy is included in the report. Bwog will be contacting the SAC to get more data on the undergraduate responses.

All pictures from the SAC’s report

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  1. Anonymous  

    Took them long enough. What were they doing, calculating all the averages by hand?

  2. CCSC  

    Snaps to Richard Sun, Matt Chou, and Alex Frouman. I'm proud of you heroes for actually getting this done.

  3. Spot on!  

    Right about time someone brought the issue of mental health into light. There are several issues with CPS and it's lack of resources. There were many times where I felt that I needed to talk to a specialist but was really uncomfortable getting into the elevator in Lerner with a bunch of other students and press the 8th floor button (for those who don't know, CPS is the only office on that floor), forcing me to get off at the 6th floor and walk up the stairs to the 8th floor because I didn't want to deal with the awkward/uncomfortable looks that I would get.
    With that being said, I believe mental health reform requires immediate action, from administrators and student leaders alike. Columbia needs to stop focusing on it's image and rather start caring about the well-being of the students.

  4. the problem  

    with mental health on campus is not necessarily that services are lacking (although this is a valid concern). it's that columbia promotes an academic culture that drives students to their most extreme. just as it wouldn't be healthy if i worked out for 8 hours a day, so too is it unhealthy for me to study for 8 hours a day. only when *this* changes (when assigning a book a week, for example, isn't normalized) will mental health, on average, improve. however, it's very unlikely that these structural issues will change.

    • chill out  

      reading a book a week does not cause mental health issues. mental health issues transcend academic stress (though maybe depression/anxiety/etc. is exacerbated by it), and i think it reduces very serious issues when we continue to place blame on the institution for psychological and physiological issues. There are plenty of people who are healthy even if they are stressed. Reducing the workload will not get rid of the serious mental health issues a lot of people face.

  5. vic

    It's nice that some students feel sufficiently confident, and worthy, to express their own opinions, and to reasonably identify and object to what is lacking. This is an improvement from the slave mentality that is so often prevalent.

  6. Anonymous

    you only read one book per week? hey seas kid in one global core class.

  7. SPACE  

    There is no where to hang out on campus. NO WHERE that is not a study space/library. Lerner is a sad excuse for a student center, there are no lounges or spaces to sit, have a coffee, and talk. Joe and the Diana are the only places that come to mind, but neither exists solely for Columbia students. I JUST WANT SOMEWHERE TO EAT MY HAMDEL SANDWICH IN PEACE.

  8. Junius Brutus Columbianus

    Removing "outliers." That a representative set of responses would give positive values for Columbia in many of these categories is dubious.

  9. actually  

    i am a senior. and when i say "one book a week" i mean in one individual class. that the "one book a week" compounds (when taking five classes) into three books a week + problem sets + two jobs + clubs does, at least in my experience, place an unhealthy amount of stress on students. i don't mean to reduce mental health issues to campus culture. however, i think it's worth something that my worst days at columbia have also been my busiest.

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