The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Improve Dartmouth - A New Website to Create Positive Change at Dartmouth

Article Type 
Photo by Eli Burakian ’00

To view the Improve Dartmouth website, click here (Dartmouth NetID required). 

At Dartmouth, there’s no shortage of critical, passionate people with terrific ideas about how to make this community the best that it can be. However, there is a lack of implementation simply due to the turnover of students in organizations each term. Dartmouth Roots, the student-run organization behind Improve Dartmouth, is structured specifically to implement actionable ideas that require continuity of leadership and prolonged oversight. 

The idea for Improve Dartmouth originated from Roots’ basic mission: to implement tangible projects that improve our school. Each fall, in an effort to ensure that no student ideas were left unheard, Roots members assemble a document detailing the most popular and feasible ideas on campus. Improve Dartmouth developed out of an effort to ensure that this portrait of campus needs was comprehensive. We were discussing how to go about listening for ideas, and realized that crowd-sourcing idea collection on a website ensured that the entire community would be able to participate and could be an excellent tool for any and all of the student groups looking to improve our school. 

Improve Dartmouth is, fundamentally, a tool to centralize dialogue on ideas to improve Dartmouth. It is a website where any member of the Dartmouth community can log on, post ideas, vote on their favorites (or least-favorites) and, most importantly, comment with their thoughts. Each idea has the potential to be an important conversation-starter between students, administrators and staff. There are already terrific ideas on the site, some of which are already in the process of implementation – but to us, success isn’t measured by sheer number of completed ideas. It’s measured by community engagement and dialogue. We’ve found that, more than wanting a specific initiative, people just want to be heard – and it is our hope that that it itself will help to build our community. 

One of the most exciting things about Improve Dartmouth is its inherent dynamicity. Because the website is completely community driven, we do expect that its interface with the community will change dependent upon what our community needs. We’re particularly excited to use the site as a platform to continue dialogues from other venues and look forward to seeing how added tools such as the “ShoutOut” and “Q&A” tabs add to the already positive conversations on the site.

--Gillian O'Connell '15, Leader of Improve Dartmouth

The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences