When complaints such as Acorn Coffee Shop lines and internship requirements pile up on social media, the Elon University administration might not hear about it.
This might change with the launch of Campus Grumble, a new website that launched at Elon Sept. 7. It intends to publicize students’ commentary and feedback.
“I realized that small, everyday annoyances and even sometimes major problems, flew under the radar of the administration very frequently,” said creator and Wake Forest University graduate John Kirkpatrick “I decided to make a platform where students and administrators can collaborate on issues and make things a lot easier and efficient.”
Campus Grumble is just that — a fast way to make complaints to a specific university’s administration.
The site currently features only four schools: Wake Forest University, Davidson College, High Point University and Elon University.
The website is straightforward and user-friendly, according to Kirkpatrick. Any student, after registering with his or her university email, can submit a grumble, or a statement of an issue on campus that students want resolved by their administration.
Kirkpatrick said the site is not campus-bashing because complaints will be written in detail and suggest potential solutions. The author’s name will also be attached to all grumbles, which wards off anonymous slandering.
Students may also “mumble” their grumbles, which promotes a complaint and helps administrators see what issues are most important to the students.
Once a university agrees to be affiliated with the site, all grumbles will be sent to the administration in a monthly report. At this time, Elon has not begun its affiliation with the site, according to Dan Anderson, vice president of University Communications.
Should the university comply, students will have the opportunity to voice concerns about issues all over campus. They would also have the promise that the university is at least considering the suggestions students sent.
Kirkpatrick developed the idea in his living room and after a few months of planning and mapping later, it was launched.
“My hope for the project is that it will continue to expand from its grassroots launch in just four North Carolina schools to many more campuses nationwide,” Kirkpatrick said. “I think it will be successful as long as administrations can realize that face-to-face communication is definitely valuable, but they have to respect that the convenience my platform brings gets them the information they need while being more convenient for the student.”
Kirkpatrick travels to campuses to meet with administrators and ensure the site is working properly. He knows it is essential to account for how different administrations function. He focuses on showing the administration the website’s convenience. Beyond a platform for students to complain, it is also a place for potential students to learn about a university.
“As a student or a prospective student, if you see an administration solving and responding to problems publicly that are affecting your campus, it really makes you feel proud and attracts you to the school,” Kirkpatrick said.
Elon students can also see its potential success. Some said it could be a good source of improvement in the school. And while others said they would not personally use it, they think it would be used on campus.
“I would be curious to see what kinds of complaints would come up,” said sophomore Susanna Dechant. “I think it will be a useful tool because even though students can talk to SGA, an online service would be easier for those who don’t bring complaints to SGA. It’s less formal and time-consuming.”
Kirkpatrick said he had that in mind while creating the platform. By using the site’s values of accountability, collaboration and communication, he plans to build a new bridge between students and university administration. And that’s something few would grumble about.