Climate & Change: UW’s search for inclusion.

The UW’s Tri-Campus Climate Survey will open on Oct. 8 and close a month later on Nov. 8. Although primarily done online, participants also have the opportunity to choose a pen and paper survey if they so wish. The Climate Study working group will then receive a report from Rankin & Associates Consulting including final results and suggestions. In Spring and Summer of 2020, the CSWG will develop action items and initiatives, as well as start development on the next survey.

This survey will be used to create an equitable environment. By surveying students, staff and faculty, UWT is able to find both the strengths and weaknesses in our institution. By doing this survey each year, UW is able to refer to the past to see if they are creating more — or less — positive change, as well as cross-analyze to see if any patterns occur throughout the study.

A positive climate, UW believes, is essential in allowing everyone to reach their full potential. With pure ‘Husky Pride,’ UW is not just idly content with a surface level public image that only pleases their sponsors. Instead, they dig down and find what obstacles are arising within our walls. Their mission is to provide a platform for all to voice their free and open ideas, in which the survey aids. Chris Fuentes, Tacoma Campus’ IT Project manager, hopes there will be a large drive of participants this year. 

 “The goal is to paint a picture of how students, faculty, and staff feel about their sense of belonging and inclusion on campus,” Fuentes said. “The results are expected to help leaders on campus, plan and take action in areas that require attention in order to make our campus climate a more inclusive and positive experience.” Although everyone is encouraged to participate, the survey is completely voluntary. The format also allows participants to skip over any question they do not wish to answer. 

2017–2021 Diversity Blueprint and the Race & Equity Initiative has recognized a climate survey as a “priority to help us confront individual and institutional racism, as well as to inform the work that will make our campuses more inclusive overall,” as noted on UW Climate Survey’s official webpage. The survey also contains topics such as sexual assault, harassment and misconduct.

Last year, the study found that most students struggle with housing and food insecurities. This affects a student’s moods and energy, along with their ability to concentrate and complete tasks — whether that be from health side effects of overworking to maintain their resources or by lack of resources all together. After identifying this obstacle, and noticing the increase of students visiting each year, the Any Hungry Husky program expanded and established food pantries across each campus. They also added quarterly pay-as-you-can and social services popups on the Seattle campus. We will be able to see this year how much these initiatives have helped fight against this issue. “The health and welfare of our students is our primary concern. That starts with reliable housing and access to food,” Denzil Suite, UW’s Vice President for Student Life told the UW News earlier this year. “This survey deepens our ongoing effort to fully understand the need that exists, and we are committed to reviewing and updating our efforts to support our students in the years to come.”

For those who have questions or feedback about the survey, they are encouraged to reach out to any member of the CSWG, including their two co-chains Jeanette James and Jason Johnson.