When the average college student has a complaint these days, it seems to go straight to social media.
Popular Twitter accounts, such as @BU_Probs or @BadLuck_Butler share the gripes of students at Butler University.
While most of the tweets are meant to be humorous, some complaints are real problems that should be addressed. Instead of simply posting about their problems online, students should be proactive and try to make changes.
Social media can actually be a starting point for accomplishing change, if used in the right way.
Dawgs for a Cause is a Facebook group started last semester. It advocates change in campus dining. Students use the page as a forum to voice concerns about the food and to find other students with similar dietary concerns.
Instead of simply posting complaints, the members actively reach out to Aramark, which is an effective way to change their situation.
Freshman Kate Webb is a vegetarian, and she helps organize students with dietary restrictions through this Facebook page. In November, Webb and other vegetarians met with representatives from Aramark to talk about how the dining halls can better accommodate students with special dietary needs.
Both groups were happy with the outcome of the summit. More communication is the key to making changes, Michelle Bryant-Jones, dining services director, said.
“If the students don’t tell us what they are looking for specifically, we may get it wrong,” Bryant-Jones said. “The more conversation and dialogue that we have concerning the meal plan, the better we are able to serve your needs.”
Students can also email firstname.lastname@example.org or write on the suggestion cards in the dining halls to request changes or even specific recipes. Cards that say “make better food” are not useful, Bryant-Jones said.
Students who really want a change need to take action and create reasonable goals. This is the mature way to handle problems, versus tweeting a complaint.
Talking in a professional manner about realistic goals is the best way to accomplish change. The students who attended the summit exemplified the necessary maturity to have their voices heard in a positive way.
Students across campus should take heed of the way this group of students accomplished their goals. Instead of complaining about issues to their friends or on social media, students need to be proactive about making their college experience what they want it to be.
The success of the cooperation between Aramark and Butler students is a good example for others. This is how to make important decisions and compromises in the professional world, which is a lesson all college students should learn.