SGA Hosts Strategic Planning Focus Group
On Wednesday, Nov. 30, Student Government President Nick DeMichele held a focus group amid the ongoing strategic planning process. The focus group centered around the executive boards of campus organizations and discussed both progress made within these executive boards and areas of improvement. Data generated from this, and other, focus groups, will be considered by the strategic planning task force in making university objectives for roughly the next decade.
Two main tasks were set at the beginning of the meeting – to determine what strengths and weakness present student leaders thought affect Frostburg State from a student organization perspective, and to receive feedback about what students believe would solve some of the issues on campus. As the meeting began, DeMichele urged these student leaders to be candid with their feedback, reminding all that the more specific the feedback, the better the university would be able to help address their concerns.
Students had about 15 minutes to walk around the room and participate in a S.W.O.T. analysis of the campus, leadership, and their own organizations. This exercise is a common business practice to get a well-rounded idea about any organization or product; the excursive concerns strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Markers and large sheets of paper were placed around the room and students were urged to record feedback and suggestions anonymously. After the 15 minutes, students gathered together again to discuss and clarify some of the comments. Most categories had two full pages worth of comments, but “strengths” only gathered one and a half. Once again the students had some time to walk around the room to put check marks next to ideas they agreed strongly with.
After that, DeMichele discussed every board to find the main concern. Several different themes were brought to the crowd’s attention. Students thought that a lot of their own organizations excelled in recruiting new members, and finding strong leaders among those new members. For “opportunities” students expressed how much they though a “Welcome Week” might benefit future students instead of just FSU Preview. Threats ranged from campus safety to lack of support from other groups. And finally, “weaknesses” included, but are not limited to: a concern over a lack of guidance for up and coming clubs, a lack of passionate members, and a lack of a universal scheduling system for all organizations.
DeMichele and April Kinyua, SGA Treasurer, created several questions with regards to these concerns to be discussed among the student leaders present. Half of the students were assigned to ask, half to respond, and after about 15 minutes each, they switched.
Bethany Henson, a senior and a member of Alpha Sigma Tau, felt hopeful for future students after the forum. “I felt it was productive…Frostburg has so many obstacles that are concerning to a diverse group of leaders. Hopefully, many of the issues raised can be pushed up to the administration so that necessary changes can be made.”