Fix city with a click New website creates a sense of community HANNAH ORLICKI Contributing Writer When you see potholes or burnt out streetlights, do you ever wish you could report it to someone who can fix the problem? Now there is a website called SeeClickFix. com that allows users to report a variety of public service problems in their neighborhood. Based on user activity, SeeClickFix. com creates points of interest for each user to more easily follow local issues and activities. Then, verified officials, such as city council members, acknowledge and respond to reported problems within their district. Users are also allowed to vote on whether they feel other’s problems should be addressed. Problems such as graffiti, potholes, dead
trees, trash buildup and malfunctioning streetlights are frequently reported. Reports are posted under the “Issues” tab on the website. Users can post issues that they have in their neighborhood and vote on them. Users frequently comment on other’s posts, too. When people comment on public issues, they often provide numbers to call for assistance such as the Department of Public Works, or a city official’s name and office contact information. Aside from posting, commenting and voting on public issues, SeeClickFix.com offers users the chance to ask their neighbors questions about the city they share. Under the “Answers” tab on the webpage, users can search for a particular question, ask an original question or answer other
questions. People ask questions such as, “Are there any upcoming free events in the area?” “How can I obtain a copy of my marriage license?” And, “Where can I take industrial/construction waste from my DIY project?” Another feature of SeeClickFix.com is the “Neighbors” section. Here, users can search people as well as groups that participate in SeeClickFix.com and live nearby. City council officials and neighborhood watch groups can be searched using this method. “Watch Areas” is the last tab on SeeClickFix.com. Using this tool, it is possible to create neighborhood watch groups for yourself or for public officials. People also specify watch areas geographically by outlining the watch perimeter on SeeClickFix.com’s Google Maps feature. Under a watch area, the email address of a watch
group member is provided as well as posts of issues within the watch area’s perimeter. Clicking the tab at the top of the page will search for watch areas. It is free to join SeeClickFix.com. All that is needed is a display name everyone will see as well as an email and password to use at login. Every user selects their neighborhood by clicking on a map or using GPS. If you do not want to select your own neighborhood, a neighborhood of choice may be selected — just remember not to choose a neighborhood based on GPS location. You’ll immediately start receiving posts about questions, public issues and watch groups in and around the local neighborhood that was chosen or, as an official user, start posting questions and public service issues of your own.
University staff members reach out to Student Senate Senators’ input requested for campus connections, library sanitation, educational outreach SYDNEE THOMPSON The South end The Wayne State Student Senate welcomed a bevy of speakers to their Nov. 7 meeting to discuss a variety of topics including the alumni association, transfer student programs and library user etiquette. Ty Stevenson, the executive director of the Alumni Association, kicked off the meeting with a presentation on the latest changes to the alumni program and the importance of fostering community and pride among WSU graduates. “We all have a history at some point that starts growing with our first contact at Wayne State,” Stevenson said. “My first contact was in 1991 going to a Red Wings game with my dad when I was 10 years old to see Sergei Fedorov play at the Joe. We drove down the Lodge and I said, ‘Dad, what’s that parking structure with Wayne State on it? What’s that?’ ‘Well, son, that’s an urban research university.’ Okay, went on to the game, didn’t think about it for another seven years or so, until I became a senior, but I’m so glad that Wayne State found me, reached out to me and I was able to have the experience I have today.” “Our (the alumni association) job is to create a symbiotic, mutually beneficial relationship between you and your
university,” Stevenson said. “We put together programs, benefits and services that are designed to help you. We hope you choose to contribute to the university in a multitude of ways at whatever level you’re comfortable.” Stevenson said the Office of Alumni Relations is staffed and funded by WSU, but they also have a separate nonprofit organization, the Alumni Association, which is not necessarily affiliated with the university and its payrolls. In 2012, the Alumni Association decided it would no longer charge membership dues. “We have almost a quarter of a million alumni worldwide,” Stevenson said. “Eighteen to nineteen thousand of those of that quarter million were actual members, paying, of the association. Correct me if I’m wrong, but we’re missing a big segment of our people, our family, our brothers and sisters. And so right before I took the job, the decision was made to get away from the duesbased model. Well, we’ve been doing that for well over 75 years. This is a big, titanic sized change in philosophy and the focus of what we do.” The Alumni Association administers numerous local, regional and communications programs and initiatives throughout the year, including the Wayne State Magazine and cocktail parties, but Stevenson said they’re aiming to diversify their mission and offer
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career programs, financial planning and online webinars as well. Ahmad Ezzeddine, the associate vice president for Educational Outreach and International Programs, spoke regarding the WSU extension centers and transfer student programs. He said WSU recently announced a partnership with Schoolcraft College in Livonia where WSU business and engineering courses will be hosted at that campus. “The idea is to really create those partnerships with the community colleges to make it easy for the students to transfer and complete a degree,” Ezzeddine said. “And why community colleges in general? You all know about the enrollment issues … We don’t get the community college enrollment. The top eight feeders to Wayne State have an enrollment of more than 120,000 students. We are getting less than 1 percent of that transferring to Wayne. Schoolcraft, for example — this fall, we had 140 students transfer from Schoolcraft to Wayne State. They have more than 13,000 students. I think we can do better.” Ezzeddine also said WSU created the Transfer Student Success Center in the Undergraduate Library this year so transfer students have a physical space to get specialized help and advising. The international student program will receive more attention as well, with new
recruitment and outreach programs in countries like China. Library Systems Dean Sandra Yee visited the Senate with Associate Director Mike Hawthorne, hoping to get feedback from Senators regarding the no food or drink policy in the university libraries. Hawthorne said while students requested the policy, library staff has had increasing difficulty enforcing it. “As we enforce the policy, we’re finding that the students are becoming more and more aggressive in terms of pushing back and disrespecting … we’re finding that trash is being left all over the place, drinks are being spilled on the floor and then we get complaints that ‘this place is nasty, this place is filthy, what are you going to do?’ And we take that seriously, so we’re hoping that we can somehow work with you guys to figure out a way to get the message down to the student body.” One Senator suggested to remove the small trash bins from study rooms so students would have to leave to throw their trash out, while another Senator suggested that hand sanitizer or sanitizing wipe stations should be installed near the computers so that individual students can wipe off dirty workstations in between janitorial rounds. Yee said because of the logistics involved, university library computers are only cleaned once a semester.