BYUSA uses students’ ‘bright ideas’ to better campus

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    By Justin Ritter

    Credit cards in the Cougareat. Socks without sandals. Wi-Fi in Brigham Square. These and many other improvements to the university started as suggestions from BYU students.

    BYUSA”s Bright Ideas program provides students with a way of making suggestions that could benefit the campus community.

    “Bright Ideas is a great means of gathering student opinion,” said Steele Kizerian, BYUSA”s vice president of the Student Advisory Council (SAC). “It”s spurned a lot of ideas for the council in the past.”

    Lately BYUSA has put an emphasis on the quality, rather than the quantity of suggestions made.

    “I”d rather have 15 good ideas and reward them than one thousand ideas saying, ”more free food,”” he said.

    Accordingly, each month SAC reviews the suggestions it has received and chooses three winners who receive prizes including iPod Nanos, iPod accessories and backpacks.

    They also get the opportunity to try to help their idea come to fruition. After selecting the top ideas, SAC conducts research on their feasibility and impact. Students whose ideas are being researched and evaluated are invited to participate in the process.

    “We take into account the cost-effectiveness of it, if it”s possible – would students like it?” he said.

    Jessica Crane, a SAC executive director, said there are typically one or two ideas that are deeply researched each semester. Sometimes they are modified to make them more plausible, she said.

    If an idea is found to be feasible and helpful, it is implemented. Changes brought about through student suggestions include the allowance of shorts on campus and, more recently, bringing Wi-Fi to Brigham Square, according to BYUSA”s Bright Ideas Web site.

    SAC is currently toying with some bright ideas of its own. In recent days the council has begun to discuss ways to change advertising for the program in order to better educate and inform students about it, Kizerian said.

    “We”re just thinking of ways to use money wisely and effectively,” he said. “We”re trying to find things that are going to be more permanent.”

    As a result, students may see an influx of pens, fliers and pins advertising Bright Ideas. Contest winners might see their pictures on posters around campus.

    Students can make a suggestion and enter the contest by clicking on the “Bright Ideas” button on BYUSA”s homepage and writing a paragraph explaining their idea.

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