BYUSA’s Student Advisory Council invites students to help make lasting change

Student Advisory Council members invite students to scan their QR code and provide feedback on student employment services. This year’s selected topics were student wellness, student employment, accessibility, inclusion and belonging, LGBTQ+ and academic standards. (Amy Ortiz)

BYUSA’s Student Advisory Council hosted its annual Idea Fair on Thursday, Sept. 21 to give students the chance to voice their opinions and to impact student life.

The Idea Fair is an event held annually by the Student Advisory Council and serves to gather student feedback on various topics, ultimately shaping the projects the council will work on throughout the year.

This year, the selected topics ranged from student wellness to inclusion and belonging. Student representatives encouraged students to visit their different booths and fill out surveys specific to their topics through a series of games and other incentives.

“The idea fair is an amazing opportunity for students to share their voice,” Annie Walker, a BYU freshman serving as a Student Employment representative, said. “From LGBTQ+ to accessibility to student employment … we give students on campus the opportunity to provide their input on important things that go on on campus.”

Student Advisory Council members in the accessibility team prepared candies and a ring toss game to encourage student participation at their Idea Fair booth. The Idea Fair was held on Sept. 21, 2023. (Amy Ortiz)

For the Student Advisory Council, this gathering of student input is crucial as it aims to be a “credible and sought-after resource that represents the voice and sentiment of the BYU student body,” according to the Student Connection and Leadership Center website.

The Student Advisory Council is one area of BYU’s Student Service Association and is split into three parts: the council, student voice and marketing. While each of these parts works together to gather student feedback and represent the student body, it is mainly the advisory council that undergoes the collaborative work and research needed to enhance the student experience.

“The Student Advisory Council is intended to be a bridge between the student body and the administration (and) is made up of students who represent different colleges, departments and student populations,” Logan Mann, Student Advisory Council Coordinator, said.

Throughout fall and winter, these student representatives work together within the structure of a class to research student input and explore feasible projects aligned with what the university is doing and where it is going.

“Essentially, the students share their voice with us and then we take their suggestions, their issues on campus and we see what we can do,” BYUSA’s Vice President Savanna Shiman, who works with the Student Advisory Council, said.

According to Mann and Shiman, the council’s research process includes conducting a number of surveys and focus groups, as well as partnering with relevant stakeholders to gain further insights on the issues and their potential solutions.

Student Advisory Council members proudly invited students to stop and participate at the different Idea Fair booths. The Student Advisory Council is a credible and sought-after resource that represents the student body. (Amy Ortiz)

After thorough research, the student representatives come up with potential projects or resources that they present to President Reese and his council for consideration.

Past projects initiated by the Student Advisory Council include the BYU Safe Walk app, free feminine hygiene products on campus and directional signs on campus light posts.

Mann specified, however, with all of their projects the Student Advisory Council’s primary role has not been execution, but creation of “the spark” that sets them in motion.

“It’s amazing to see the passion that students have to serve their fellow students … and when you can help connect that passion with processes and procedures on this campus that allow them to make lasting impact … it’s amazing to see the creative solutions they come up with,” Mann said.

The Student Advisory Council invites all students to engage, share their voices and actively participate in creating a lasting impact on campus.

“I want students to know that the Student Advisory Council is here … trying to fight for them, be there for them and listen to their voice,” Shiman said.

BYU students participate in the Idea Fair by completing surveys about student life topics. BYU students who participated were rewarded with Crumbl cookies. (Amy Ortiz)

To get involved, the Student Advisory Council encourages students to visit the BYUSA office or reach out via email. According to Shiman, the BYUSA office is the “center for students,” where all students are welcome to volunteer, study or have lunch.

Echoing Shiman’s words, Mann shared his desire for any and all students to get involved, expressing the more students who choose to participate and share a little of themselves, the greater the impact.

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