Check out “CUSG Watch” on Facebook: tinyurl.com/cusgwatch .
Two University of Colorado students are keeping the student body informed on CUSG activity after two controversial bills stirred student interest in February.
CU senior Cassie Gedbaw and junior Daniel Ellen started “CUSG Watch,” a Facebook page with information about legislation, meetings and elections.
The page began amid controversy of two bills that CUSG approved, despite strong student opposition — including a protest of more than 150 last month.
The bills affected student fee funding for the Interactive Theatre Project and Colorado Public Interest and Research Group — a student group where Gedbaw and Ellen work.
Gedbaw said because students are typically apathetic toward CUSG issues, she felt the increased interest was a good opportunity to inform.
“We wanted to ride the controversy out and get students to pay attention to CUSG legislation, even after these bills calmed down,” Gedbaw said. “It was a good opportunity to show students why CUSG is so important, exactly how much money they’re in charge of and how that can directly affect students.”
After three weeks, the page has 135 “likes” from people and 26 “likes” from other pages, mostly CU departments. The mission of the page, as stated in the info section, is “to encourage democracy on the CU campus by relaying information to students about issues that affect them.”
While the motivation for the page came from controversial bills, the information contained on the page is meant to be unbiased, Gedbaw said.
“We’re trying to be non-biased,” said Gedbaw. “We’re not trying to attack the current student government, we’re just trying to get the information out there.”
Allison Foley, CUSG vice president of external affairs, said the administration is happy to see increased student interest in student government through the page.
“We’re really happy that there’s some student involvement and that they care what’s going on in the government here,” Foley said. “It’s definitely a positive thing that students are stepping up and taking an active approach to what’s going on.”
Foley said she hopes students will also contact the administration directly with questions or concerns, since the information on the page is not verified by CUSG and is an open forum of opinions.
CU sophomore Adelina Shee said the page will make CUSG information more accessible to students, many of whom are already on Facebook.
“Most students don’t even know they have a student government,” Shee said. “Having this page on Facebook definitely makes it accessible to more students.
“It’s such a convenient way for them to learn about what the student government is doing.”
Gedbaw said Facebook seemed like the best avenue to reach students since most students are members of the social networking site.
Much of the information included on the page can also be found on CUSG’s Web site, cusg.colorado.edu, but is likely seen by more students on Facebook, Gedbaw said.
Another benefit of the page is the ability for students to comment and share their opinions about CUSG activity, a feature CU graduate student Tanya Phillips said helps.
“I like the ability to see what others are thinking and the ability to add my thoughts/perspective as a graduate student,” Phillips said. “Other than that, I like the principal of it and hopefully many more people representing different sides of the arguments will post to it.”