The University of Wisconsin’s student government is asking students: WTF?
In the context of a new twitter account created by the Associated Students of Madison, WTF stands for “what to fix” and was created to give students an easy way to voice any grievances they may have around campus, ASM spokesperson Grace Bolt said.
The idea came last year when ASM Chair David Gardner was “trolling” the Internet and stumbled across a similar account for University of South California, Bolt said. It is something many other Big Ten campuses have used with success, she said.
Bolt loved the idea and started the new account during Welcome Week.
A lot of times students see issues around campus that can be fixed easily but they do not approach their student council representatives with the problems, Bolt said.
After less than two weeks online, @WTFUWMadison is nearing 100 followers and is starting to respond to students’ inquiries.
A tweet with a picture from @tjdewolfe brought attention to a lighting problem near the UW Foundation building.
“”@WTFUWMadison” these need to be turned on at night @ UW foundation”,” the tweet said.
ASM contacted the building facility manager at the UW Foundation, addressed the issue and tweeted back to let the student know the issue was fixed, Bolt said.
“What is great is that since there is a direct response students can reach out and get a response fairly quickly,” Student Council Rep. Gen Carter said. “There was a problem with the lights and we were able to get in contact with the building owner and fix that, it’s just things like that that will be really easy to get quick fixes.”
Carter said the beauty of Twitter is that it allows students to tweet about any problem on campus they want to see or that needs to be fixed.
The purpose of the Twitter account is to entertain any and all suggestions, even if that suggestion is just “more doughnuts,” as one tweet requested.
Tweeting at the account will most likely elicit a faster response, as ASM has many connections with campus administration and has the ability to get answers faster than the average student, ASM Vice Chair Mia Akers said.
Akers said she is most likely to tweet at the account when struggling with technology issues, such as if Learn@UW is down for extended periods. The account is also a way to hold ASM accountable and to ensure it continues to work on issues students are concerned about, she said.
Bolt said she hopes the account continues to be used, but on a much larger scale.
One of the problems other schools with similar accounts have encountered is a lot of activity when the account is still new but students eventually forgetting about the resource, she said.
“The biggest goal is to make it not disappear. If [the account] dies we’re back at square one where people are having problems, and there’s no one to address it,” Bolt said.