Efforts by a grassroots student government committee devoted to increasing cell phone service on campus will take shape this semester.
The Associated Students of Madison University Affairs Committee is working to increase reception in areas where students spend most of their time and to target buildings and areas on campus with the worst reception, according to committee member Callen Raveret, who is leading the campaign.
Not having cell service becomes a safety hazard if it means individuals are unable to use their phone in an emergency, Raveret said.
Students report having problems during football games and walking to class, in addition to being in high-traffic areas like residence halls and the Student Activities Center, University Affairs Committee Chair Becca Buell said in an email to The Badger Herald.
“It’s important for ASM, as a student government body, to prioritize cell phone reception because it will address the needs on game days and during late nights when people are on our campus and do not have access to make phone calls or send texts,” Buell said. “It’s a safety issue.”
Buell said University Affairs started this campaign last fall. She said committee members targeted cell phone carriers and attempted to find ways to get them more invested in increasing reception on the University of Wisconsin campus.
The committee switched to a different approach this semester, according to Buell. They would like to involve more students and work collaboratively in different university partnerships, she added.
University Affairs issued a campuswide survey via WiscMail Monday that the committee will use to discern what campus buildings students would like the committee to target for increased cell phone reception, Raveret said.
“Our goal is to reach the most number of students that we’re able to,” Buell said. “It’s important for students to be able to have better reception, not only to send text messages and phone calls out of convenience, but also to ensure a safe campus environment.”
According to Raveret, this problem is heightened within Leadership in Energy and Efficient Design efficient buildings. He said building materials, like aluminum oxide in the SAC windows, disable people from getting as good of service as they do outside.
Raveret said after the committee decides what buildings are in the greatest need of attention, University Affairs will not target cell phone carriers themselves; rather, they will try to gain the cooperation of building officials and develop the best approach or solution for better cell phone reception.
“We’re not going for the national,” Raveret said. “We’re just going for the on-campus strategy.”
However, bettering cell phone service on campus is just one facet of the University Affairs campus safety campaign.
Buell said there are a number of issues ASM is working on to improve campus safety. She said this ranges from providing spaces outside of major campus libraries and buildings listing bus times and cab numbers, to the Responsible Action Bill regarding alcohol policy currently being proposed to the state.
“UW-Madison is a relatively safe campus,” Buell said. “However, it is important for us to continually institutionalize the best practices and increase preventative measures to ensure all students feel and are safe.”