In 2016 , Andrew Stuart Abel, along with Travis Tosten and Alexander Toms, conducted a survey of students’ experience at Wilson. This survey was given to 143 random students ranging from freshmen to seniors and differed among commuters, residents, athletes and age. This survey asked students various questions that included what attracted them to Wilson, what they would change, and how they would rank different offices on campus.
Abel reports that there were three top answers of why students made the decision to come to Wilson. He says, “The most intriguing finding was the frequent use of the word ‘small;’ it was used in 34 comments, making it the second most commonly used term to praise Wilson.”
The word “small” was used to describe the campus, classes and the community. Students highly value the small campus and especially the size of the classes; most classes average about 15-20 students.
With Wilson being in the middle of Chambersburg, it is easy for students to go down town for activities or across town for a Sheetz run.
However, when the question came up on what students would change about Wilson, Abel noticed that there were a variety of answers. Among all the responses, there were three things that were mentioned the most. The first was parking issues. Since the survey was taken shortly after the parking renovations, students noticed that there were not as many parking spots. This made it difficult for students to find a parking spot near academic buildings.
The second and third most common complaints were about food and things to do on campus. Various complaints were made against the dining hall; all asking for better food and longer dining hours.
Able states, “One issue is that athletes who have way games and return late miss dinner, and this is an issue due to the lack of alternatives on campus.”
Students would also like more activities that happen on campus, especially on the weekends for those who live on campus.
Lastly, students were asked to review and rate the different services offered on campus. These services included the dining hall, business office, registrar office, financial aid, residence life, security, bookstore, academic support, chaplain’s office, career development, and the counseling center. Once the survey was completed, the dining hall received the lowest rating on the campus while the counseling center was the highest with the career development second highest.
Abel states, “The high ratings for the Counselling Center and the Career Development Office deserve special mention, as these areas correlate to positive retention outcomes and timely graduation in search of employment.”
While Wilson may need improvements, there is a great deal that Wilson is doing right for the students.
“We should not take these results as the last word, but only as one step on a journey toward better understanding of the College and its students,” Abel said.