|Students have concerns, suggest solutions|
|Written by Alex Lawson, Daily Vidette Staff|
|Thursday, 28 February 2008 18:00|
Six students presented ethnographic research they conducted about various aspects of university life on ISU's campus Thursday afternoon.
These presentations were part of an effort that encourages student research called the Ethnography of the University Initiative.
The students' research was originally done for their ANT 285-Ethnography class, taught by associate professor Gina Bessa. Bessa explained that the Initiative originally began at the University of Illinois and has branched out to other universities across the state.
"It's a cross-campus, interdisciplinary movement that recognizes that students are both consumers and producers of knowledge," Bessa said. "They have access to all sorts of information and settings that professors may not necessarily have."
The student presentations focused on several aspects of the university including campus safety, international student life, environmental concerns and the role of RSOs.
The students were encouraged to begin their research with a question or a concern about the way things are on campus. From that question, they were encouraged to gather data and make recommendations as to how the university can make strides in that area.
Renee Olson, a senior sociology major, presented her research on ISU's environmental policies. She said that there were several student organizations and committees focused on the issue of environmental policy, but that they lacked cohesiveness and communication to effectively achieve their goal.
Emma Meyer and Elyse Leannais, both senior anthropology majors, presented research that dealt with the issue of safety on campus. Meyer found through her research of campus crime reports and interviews that most crimes occur in the dorms as opposed to other areas on campus, and that a large portion of this was due to the way most residence hall floors are laid out.
Leannais presented a study on the utility of the blue light emergency phones dotted around campus. She found that they were rarely used and it was not made exclusively clear to students exactly where they were on campus. However, she did not feel that they were completely without purpose.
"I feel like that even though they don't get used very often and may be a little outdated (she reported that they were built in 1992), their presence serves as symbol on campus and makes people feel safe," Leannais said.
Kristin Holm, senior sociology major, and Kayla Krippner, junior sociology major, put forward research that focused on the role that certain student organizations played on campus. Holm presented the Christian ministry group, Encounter's, efforts to create community. Krippner studied the evolution of the gay and lesbian rights group PRIDE from advocacy group to social networking club.
Andrew Wasowicz, a senior anthropology major, presented his research on the social adjustments that international students have to make when they attend ISU. He explained that the opportunity to do this kind of research opened up several doors for him as a student.