Community members gather for second Strategic Plan Forum

Laura Studley

Another day, another forum. Colorado State University hosted another Strategic Plan Forum where community members, students, staff and faculty could come together and work toward a collective plan for the future of the University.

“We’re having multiple open fora for folks to be able to come and provide input into where they would like to see CSU five, ten years down the road,” said Laura Jensen, vice provost for planning and effectiveness.

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Three main points surfaced during the discussion: diversity and inclusion, student support and community engagement.

“(We are) seeing a lot about diversity inclusion, wanting to make sure that CSU is a place that many, many different people can find home in. They want to see diversity inclusion in terms of staff, faculty, students across the board and that support piece,” said Kalie McMonagle, program coordinator of the Center for Public Deliberation.

McMonagle added that student support and community engagement were vital to the CSU community and the ideas presented at the forum.

“(There is also) community engagement; we’re seeing a campus that really wants to be able to see the knowledge that’s created here being able to benefit the community that surrounds us,” McMonagle said.

The forum received input from individuals on campus and the surrounding community regarding what they wanted to see improved or added to CSU. The new CSU president will be able to review the data and move forward with a new strategic plan for the upcoming years.

An interactive map has been made available to the public where community members can add their ideas. Though it is comprised of a multiplicity of data, individuals can pinpoint their entry within the graphic. Users are also able to see where their idea connects to ideas other people have provided, gaining new perspectives and sparking a new creation of concepts.

“I think that it’s a unique experience for people to be able to immediately see their feedback incorporated into something like this,” McMonagle said. “Usually when you take a survey, it goes into kind of a vault, and maybe somebody then later on will say ‘Okay here’s what we’re seeing,’ or ‘Here’s what we heard,’ and this is all in real time, so when you take the survey, you’ll immediately be able to go to the map and see your ideas there.”

Many faces of the University agreed that the forum was beneficial and informative. Exchanging new perspectives and ideas helped to gauge the community’s goals for the future of CSU.

“(The forum) gave me a chance to actually speak my mind because before this, I feel like I hadn’t talked about financial burdens or stress or student engagement,” freshman psychology major Kaley Battista said. “I feel like when I go through school, I just have to deal with it; I don’t feel very supported. Being able to talk about it and getting opinions from other people makes me feel better; it feels like there’s actually going to be a change.”

Other students commented on the effect the forum had for their voice at the University.

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“I feel like the Strategic Plan Forum actually provided us a platform to raise our voice and make us feel heard,” said Mariah Wang, environmental engineering major and fourth year student. “We have to start somewhere… any positive change is good.”

Laura Studley can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @laurastudley_.