Student Life Survey identifies parking, dining options and campus unity as top issues

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Each year, at the beginning of the fall semester, Student Senate sends out a survey asking students to identify the most pressing issues at Lehigh.

When surveyed about the biggest problems on campus this year, 65.4 percent of students said parking, 50.2 percent said dining options and 32.5 percent said campus unity. High-risk behavior, diversity and inclusion, and housing and transportation were also identified as important issues.

Reagan Sullivan, ‘20, a Senate member who helped create the survey, said not much of its content has changed from last year, but questions were reworded to get to the point more quickly and further engage students.

The goal of the survey was to find out what issues are bothering students most and recognize which areas Senate, the administration and campus community need to improve upon this school year. In addition to multiple choice options, students could write in their own answers to elaborate on the issues that are important to them, which was most telling to Senate.

“We’re so focused on our lives at Lehigh, we forget to stop and think about the big picture,” Senate vice president Lindsay Wilson, ’18, said. “So this survey was a really good way for us to think about not just what our issues in our own lives are, but what the general student body feels.”

Members of Senate reviewed the results of the survey at the Great Pocono Escape on Sept. 15. They then constructed the Campus Life Improvement Promotions (CLIP) committees tailored to the results. At the Great Pocono Escape, Senate also worked on setting its goals for the year and getting to know each other better.

The four CLIP committees include Bethlehem outreach, safety and wellness, facilities and services, and campus unity.

Charlie Williams, ’20, the head of the facilities and services committee, said his group is in charge of fixing and improving transportation, housing, dining, LTS and parking.

If the committee can’t reduce costs for parking, Williams said members are hoping to increase transparency so students know where their money is going when they buy parking passes. Committee members also want to help students get to different places in Bethlehem, such as Wegmans and the North Side, that not many students, especially first-years, can travel to without having their own cars.

Nic Thomson, ’20, the head of the safety and wellness committee, said the committee will work with LUPD and Lehigh administration to help eliminate stigma surrounding mental health around campus.

Jonathan Levin, ‘20, the head of the Bethlehem outreach committee, said his goal is to increase the attendance of Lehigh students at town council meetings and address issues of high-risk behavior in Bethlehem.

Evan Chansky, ’20 and Bohan Chen, ’19, who are on the campus unity committee, said they will work on bridging different divides in the Lehigh community and increasing the positivity and energy on campus.

“We’re focused on diversity, inclusion, unity and school spirit,” Chansky said, “And (we’re) really trying to change the narrative of the campus culture.”

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