By Samantha Schmieder
WTF UMD is a social media project where students can directly get in touch with the Student Government Association (SGA) in order to provide them with ideas and suggestions to better the school.
So far, the page has 2395 likes on Facebook and 454 followers on Twitter and although that is only a small percentage of the university population, the word is spreading fast.
Freshman Danny Dvorak, who intends to be a business major, is running for an SGA position this semester and knows some of the people behind the website.
“It stands for ‘what to fix’ and it’s a way to connect with students,” Dvorak said. “Literally anything they want to fix they can post it and campus organizations like DOTS and dining services can see.”
Dvorak explains that even some campus departments are following their Facebook and Twitter pages and responding to students.
“It got a lot of positive feedback from students,” Dvorak said. “And the fact that departments on campus are taking note of it shows success.”
There’s a live document so that students can follow their issues online and track the progress of how their problem is being fixed and if it’s being fixed to their standards.
“The problem could just be glass on the ground or a light out and it will help find someone to fix it,” Dvorak explains.
One user on Facebook complained about the grease-laden meat and quesadillas in the dining halls and another jokingly stated that the mall should always have a moon bounce on it.
While some students are happily sending their requests to the page, others are a little skeptical. Junior finance and accounting major Daniel Atlas thinks the concept of the page is interesting, but doesn’t see it working long term.
“I think WTF UMD has its perks as it relates to speaking out about your problems,” Atlas said. “But I don’t think it will remedy any issues we have.”
So far, students complaining about having no way to get to the grocery store has prompted the start of a shuttle to take students to Giant and Beltway Plaza. The shuttle primarily serves Courtyards, Commons, the View and the Varsity and runs Saturdays and Sundays from 12 to 4 p.m.
The page has also received national attention as well with an article published in USA Today. The article discusses the trend of universities across the country beginning to use social media to help students connect with their student government. The Purdue student government began using suggestion boxes instead of social media.
“I do think it is a step towards free speech and student inclusiveness,” Atlas adds.
Junior criminal justice major Jack May was a lot more excited than Atlas for the new webpage and plans on using it to voice concerns he’s had with bus stop placements, the lack of a basketball court on South Campus and no cardboard recycling.
“I love the idea,” May said. “I wrote the school a letter one time and now that they have a Twitter and Facebook account, I’m going to go on that.”
It seems as if the students will be using the website for both real complaints as well as quirky ones and students are excited to see what gets fixed.
“It promotes open communication between students and the SGA and other departments,” said Dvorak.