By Molly K. Lichtner, 2/19/17
Dr. Maria Gallo, DelVal’s president, hosted what she called a Student Listening Tour in the Life Sciences Building’s auditorium last week. The idea was simple: the Listening Tour was an open forum for any student to give feedback or suggest ideas about anything and everything related to DelVal. As soon as I heard about it, I knew I had to go to one of the sessions that she was hosting because I have a lot of ideas for how the school can be run more effectively. As a transfer student and a commuter, I was also interested in what residents had to say about things that don’t affect me, like the dorms and the cafeteria. I also really appreciated that Dr. Gallo planned multiple sessions throughout the week at varying times; I have a very full schedule and this allowed me to attend one of the meetings.
The session I attended had about 20 students scattered around the auditorium. Dr. Gallo mentioned that this was the largest group she’s had for the whole Listening Tour. I found this to be surprising and disconcerting; why wouldn’t more students want to talk about how the school could be improved?
Below are a couple of the questions Dr. Gallo used as starting points for the conversation, along with students’ responses and the general consensus of each.
“Tell me what it’s like being a student at DelVal? What do you like? What don’t you like?”
Many students cited the close knit community as what they really like about being at DelVal, but there seemed to be more complaints than compliments. A lot of the students cited the cafeteria as something they didn’t like and needed to be improved. Many of the students that attended this session were athletes that don’t get out of practice until late in the evening. Although the cafeteria is now open 24 hours, the availability of food at night is dismal. Dr. Gallo made it clear that this is being actively worked on.
“What obstacles have you encountered that detract from getting everything you want during your time at DelVal?”
One of the main things I wanted to bring up at the Listening Tour was the fact that my beloved apiary is falling apart. I told Dr. Gallo some of the things wrong with the apiary; namely the fact that the second floor is unusable because anyone that goes up there will fall through the ceiling. I was very happy to hear that DelVal is going to be taking inventory of every building on campus to see how things can be improved. I know this won’t be done before I graduate, but it’s still nice to know that something is being done for future classes.
Dr. Gallo cares about what we, the students, have to say about our school. Before we began to discuss our ideas, Dr. Gallo introduced herself and made sure we all introduced ourselves as well. A few people came in late and she stopped to make sure that they had a chance to also introduce themselves. It’s clear to me that Dr. Gallo cares not only about DelVal, but the people that attend it too.
Thank you, Dr. Gallo. We know you love DelVal and DelVal loves you too.