Students tweeting for change

The ASWSU Twitter account erupted with more than 400 #DearWSU tweets during the past six weeks.

The hashtag serves as a way for student government to act on the concerns and suggestions voiced by the Cougar community. Student feedback turned into results, including extended library hours for dead week and finals week.

After collaborating with university officials, ASWSU announced 24/7 access to the Holland and Terrell Libraries for the final two weeks of fall semester.

“This happened because it was a student outcry,” ASWSU Vice President Kevin Massimino said.

ASWSU decided to act on the issue when several students expressed a need to lengthen library hours through Twitter and a survey distributed across campus.

“The response from different individuals and community as a whole was very positive to #DearWSU,” Massimino said. “It gave the ‘common’ student the ability to make change on this campus.”

ASWSU President Taylor Hennessey hopes to continue 24/7 library access for years to come.

“This is just half the battle, just getting it open and reevaluating where we’re at after this year,” he said. “If it’s something that is used, maybe it’s something we can continue to do.”

Beth Blakesley, associate dean of WSU libraries, said she believes granting around-the-clock use of the library will benefit students as they prepare for final exams.

“I pulled my share of all-nighters,” Blakesley said, recalling her days as a college student.

Blakesley said she expects a great number of students to take advantage of the 24/7 library hours.

Library access 24/7 is not uncommon at other universities, she said.

The University of Oregon allows students to use the Knight Library building 24 hours a day during the remaining two weeks of the term. At the University of Washington, students, faculty and staff can access certain library facilities around-the-clock all year.  

Lauren Inness, a senior hospitality and business management major, is pleased that students can now utilize the library without feeling pressured to leave.

“I love it,” Inness said. “It’s helpful for students to study, especially for crammers.”

Eddie Xu uses the library twice a week. A sophomore hospitality and business management major, Xu is more apathetic about the extended library hours because he studies at his off-campus residence.

“I came to the library more often when I lived in the dorms,” he said. “Now, I have my own space at home.”

John Kempf, a senior kinesiology major, prefers hitting the books in the library, a place he said allows him to get work done without distractions.

“I feel a lot more productive at the library,” Kempf said.

Kempf said he believes 24/7 access makes it convenient for people who may not get the chance to enter during the day.

“I think it’s a great idea because a lot of people work day jobs, and they’re limited to the hours that they can come to the library,” he said.  “24/7 access open it up to those people, especially when you’ve got a test, or you’re behind and just need to sit down for eight hours.”

Student staff members manage overnight library hours, Blakesley said.

Despite the challenge of maintaining a 24/7 staff amid the final two weeks of the semester, Blakesley said she views those who have volunteered to work extra hours as more than just student employees.

“They’re troopers. We appreciate them for doing it,” she said.

Hennessey emphasized gratitude for the work people put in to make the facilities readily available. He said students should be respectful of that fact.

“Being respectful not only for the people who are working there but also the wonderful resources that are available,” he said.