WSGA talks student retention, offers finals week events

The Washburn Student Government Association members stay busy each semester working to improve the college experience of students.   One of the challenges they faced this semester was centered on student retention.  Many Washburn students leave after their first two years.  Once completing their general education, students often go on to larger universities.  WSGA, through surveys, has recieved answers on many issues such as student retention.  

“What we discovered is that a lot of students transfer because they feel that their majors aren’t being advanced here,” said Anjelica Willis, WSGA senator. “The School of Law and the School of Business have advancement, but say digital photography—we don’t have advancement on that.” 

Willis, a senior mass media major, is a member of the student engagement committee within WSGA.  Willis said the committees use surveys and forums to keep a finger on the pulse of many student issues to find out the wants and needs of students. They found that many students feel there is not enough diversity on campus and that it is a subject that needs much more discussion.

An event WSGA was involved in this semester was Can Emporia, a competition with Emporia to see which campus could generate the most donations for charity.  This year’s campaign ended last week.  Those who stopped or passed by their offices during the operation could see the growing results of the drive.  The proceeds of the competition go to the Topeka Rescue Mission.  

WSGA feels its production of the Homecoming parade and pep rally were successful this year. But found it challenging to avoid stepping on the toes of other organizations and committees when planning and organizing events.  WSGA has decided to “move out of the way.” In the future, it will help to promote events by sponsoring or teaming with the organization or committee, but take a back seat to those they coordinate with.  

Finals week is coming up for WU students. WSGA will host several events beginning with a breakfast for students in the Living and Learning Center lobby.  There will be free study aids given out including sticky notes, page markers, highlighting markers, energy drinks and other supplies.  During the week there will be cookie decorating and pizza, hot chocolate and a movie. Any leftover supplies will be passed out during the course of the week.

During the spring semester, according to Willis, WSGA hopes to work on ways to keep students at Washburn because retention rate is a big issue.  

Willis said there will be new surveys to find out what students are looking for and to find new ways to help students enjoy themselves while they are here.

WSGA wants students to know they are welcome to stop by the office any time to ask questions or visit. The WSGA office is located in the lower level of the union.