By Henry Zhu
Near the end of August, ASSU President Michael Cruz ’12 and Vice President Stewart Macgregor-Dennis ’13 sent a blueprint containing the student government’s plans for the upcoming academic year to several campus email lists.
According to Macgregor-Dennis, the platform is “a comprehensive look at what we felt students wanted and an audacious attempt to look at students’ problems.”
Macgregor-Dennis said the blueprint was drafted by the entire ASSU Executive team. They sent it out to campus list serves in an attempt to get feedback and have the whole student body contribute to the end result.
“We have a team of incredible leaders in the Stanford community,” he said. “Michael and I really saw our role as empowering the team and community around us and actualizing whatever they wanted to do.”
The emphasis of the administration is “total transparency,” Macgregor-Dennis said.
“We’re going to tell students here’s what we’re going to do, here’s how we’ll do it, get feedback and update them periodically. At the end of the year, we’ll tell them what worked and what didn’t,” he added.
Dan Thompson ’13, ASSU Co-Chair of Entrepreneurship, echoed Macgregor-Dennis’ statement about Exec’s goal of improving transparency.
According to Thompson, the Division of Internal Review, directed by Andrew Aguilar ’14, will publish what has and what has not been accomplished in all the ASSU cabinets. The ASSU plans to use PBworks, a commercial real-time collaborative editing (RTCE) system, to set up a computer database, which will list every action item it tries to achieve, internal deadlines and the individuals assigned to the action item.
Thompson said the student body will be able to access the system.
“Our number one belief is metric-based or data-based governance,” Thompson said. “When you have a blueprint with exact action items, the student body will know if you succeed or if you fail.”
The ASSU has some concern about inundating students with data, according Thompson; however, the ASSU sees greater concern with opening access to all of its internal documents, one alternative.
Macgregor-Dennis said the ASSU is aware of criticism from students about the number of positions associated with its Strategic Plan.
“We’re all about action, and the results will speak for themselves at the end of the year,” he said. “Anyone who has a specific thing they would like to change about Stanford should join us and become an active part of the ASSU.”
Thompson said that while it sometimes makes sense to apply technical solutions to non-tech areas, he conceded that the entrepreneurship underlying Stanford 2.0 might indeed be a little too tech-focused, but would like to hear others’ thoughts about initiatives they would suggest.
“Everyone has his or her own opinion,” Thompson said. “We’re 100 percent open to anything. For example, in response to the criticism that the blueprint email was too long, Stewart created the position of Director of Internal Review. The ASSU values criticism more than praise and will give people the resources to do things themselves and carry out their ideas.”
Macgregor-Dennis said Stanford 2.0 is eager to use social media and technology to promote student government initiatives.
For instance, Chair of Health and Wellness Stephanie Liou ’13 said she hopes to launch a health Q&A website as well as a sleep-improving mobile application.
“It’s tough because there are approximately 7,000 undergrads, so it is impossible to get a personal connection with each one,” Thompson said. “Cruz and Macgregor-Dennis do their best trying to respond to the huge number of emails they receive every day. We just want to make it as easy as possible for people to give feedback and feel like part of the community.”
Cruz did not respond to The Daily’s request for comment in time for publication.