Survey allows students to rate Statesboro for improvement

Whitt Van Tassell

How would you improve Statesboro and Georgia Southern? If there was a survey asking you this question to better the community, would you take it?

Dain Alexander Reams, a current Georgia Southern graduate student in the Master of Public Administration program, seeks to improve Statesboro and Georgia Southern with information gathered in a comprehensive satisfaction survey.

“If we can mesh both of those worlds together, it’ll make a better living place for both sides,” Reams said. “I’m hoping both populations will benefit from the information.”

The Statesboro Student/Resident Satisfaction Survey is modeled after a previous project based in Metter that was also administered as part of the MPA program’s Global Government Practicum, which focuses on assisting local governments with projects they don’t necessarily have the time or money for. Students in the program gain valuable internship-style experience. Reams, in particular, has worked alongside Mandi Cody, the city’s director of planning and development, and Jason Boyles, the senior assistant city engineer.

The survey is straightforward, taking approximately five to ten minutes to complete. Sections touch on a wide array of topics centered on Statesboro life, ranging from “Downtown Appearance” and “Statesboro Police and Municipal Services,” to “The Building Code Permit Process,” all of which are areas where Reams feels additional information can help the city better cater to its dual populations of students and permanent residents.

“There’s a huge disconnect between perceptions from the students of Statesboro and from Statesboro towards the students, and I think that’s a shame,” Reams said. “Historically, the mentality of Statesboro has been ‘Well, they’re students, they’re not here long enough, they shouldn’t matter.’ The students historically look at Statesboro as ‘Well, we’re not going to be here for that long, Statesboro sucks, we’re going to go somewhere else.”

As Statesboro native and Southeast Bulloch High School graduate, Reams’ love of Statesboro carries over into his dreams for the long-term purposing of his survey’s information.

“It’s not how students are today, it’s how can we integrate students with Statesboro for tomorrow,” Reams said.

While the survey has garnered just over 900 responses, only approximately 100 of all respondents are from Georgia Southern, a number Reams says is no where near the ideal 40 percent of responses Southern students should represent in a properly representative sample.

The survey closes on Nov. 31 in order to be compiled for presentation on Wednesday, Dec. 3 to members of the Georgia Municipal Association, representatives of the local governments and representatives of Georgia Southern’s leadership.