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 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.
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 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