Resource accessibility to be ‘modernized’

ASWSU leaders proposing comprehensive student resource page; site would act as one-stop location for resources

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ANISSA CHAK

ASWSU Senator Oluwanifemi Shola-Dare said students should not have to spend a lot of time navigating through different websites or figuring out who to contact to ask their questions.

LOREN NEGRON, Evergreen news editor

Transferring to WSU in August 2019 was a challenge for Oluwanifemi Shola-Dare, senior neuroscience major and ASWSU senator, as she tried to navigate through the university’s set of resources. Finishing her last semester at WSU, she hopes developing a comprehensive student resource page will help students better access resources and have an easier college experience than her own.

“Before you come here, [WSU] always says we have resources for students, students, we have resources for low-income students,” Shola-Dare said, “but where are those resources?”

Shola-Dare and other ASWSU leaders, including ASWSU President Curtis Cohen, drafted a proposal detailing plans to create an online platform for students to find all the information they need. She said work on the proposal started this semester.

Finding information online is difficult for many students. Shola-Dare said students should not have to spend a lot of time navigating through different websites or figuring out who to contact to ask their questions.

“What I’m hoping to see from this is that no other students would, you know, have to advocate for themselves, has to do all of the hard work and finding resources for themselves anymore,” she said. “They already have enough things that they’re going through.”

Cohen said ASWSU leaders want to more effectively disseminate information to students through their comprehensive student resource page proposal. They looked at different universities across the country to see what other schools are doing and compiled their findings into a proposal.

When entering “WSU student resources” on Google, the WSU Office of the Provost’s website and WSU’s general website comes up. The first website contains a few links to resources with brief descriptions. The latter has many resources posted but can be overwhelming for students to peruse through, according to the comprehensive student resource page proposal.

Students have to click on different links before finding the information they need, Cohen said.

“It’s very fragmented,” he said. “I think it makes it really confusing.”

Based on their research, ASWSU leaders are proposing five key recommendations, according to the proposal. One is search engine optimization, allowing the resource page to be displayed at the top. The resource page’s link would be posted on Blackboard, Canvas, the backs of CougarCards and other locations to make the page more accessible.

Other recommendations include providing accommodations for students with disabilities, ensuring the platform is inclusive to all student demographics and creating a form on the page so students can submit questions, according to the proposal.

The proposal’s recommendations would help modernize the way information is delivered to students, Cohen said.

Last week, Cohen said he met with officials from the WSU Division of Student Affairs to discuss revamping accessibility to resources. Shola-Dare and Brianna Kostecka, ASWSU director of academic affairs, were present during the meeting as well.

Cohen said Student Affairs leaders were supportive of the proposal. Student Affairs is planning to lay the groundwork in updating resources this summer.

“It doesn’t seem like [the proposal will] be their only source of feedback,” he said, “but it seems like the proposal we gave them is gonna be really helpful for them to move forward.”

Cohen said he wants to open this proposal up during future meetings. He will encourage ASWSU President-elect Brian Patrick and ASWSU Vice President-elect Alexander Pan to carry the proposal forward.

There will be a virtual town hall about the resource page at 3 p.m. today. The Zoom link is on the ASWSU Instagram bio.