Nothing can be as exciting as seeing data from the Campus Climate Survey for the first time.

After all, it took weeks of planning to implement a campuswide survey. You’ve been lucky to have scored incentives as giveaways. The number of completed surveys has been rising in the past few weeks. What did the students have to say? What are their responses like?

With document in hand, you scan through the details – incidences of sexual assault, unwanted advances, campus response to violations, bystander experiences. Some of these are not easy to look at. However, for the sake of students and employees in our college community, their lives matter. And it matters that our institution recognizes the big issues and takes measures to address them.

We got the big reveal. We identified areas to work on, the trends, the current climate. Here are next steps.

Prioritize goals.
Turn shortcomings into plans of action. Sort them into short-term and long-term goals. Which ones need immediate action? Of course, limitations in funds and resources can put a damper on enacting lofty goals. However, we can think creatively. Create a coalition, task force, or committee that involves departments, divisions, and students. Make it a discussion in a student government meeting, health advisory, or active student group. There is power in numbers and voice that can creatively pool resources to move goals into action.

Celebrate successes.
Even a 2% increase in completed surveys in comparison to last year’s is worth celebrating. Define what success means to you, your department, and your institution. If you received positive feedback in several areas of service, acknowledge them to those involved.

Prepare for next time.
That moment you realize you wished a specific question was added to the survey before it was sent out to 10,000+ active students, faculty, and staff. How could it be overlooked? There is next time, and luckily, 3rd Millennium Classrooms has room for extra survey questions in the Campus Climate Survey. Determine how you can improve the next survey implementation to get better data and process in place.

Data-driven and capacity-building initiatives can have a positive impact in college culture. The forward-moving momentum of initiatives promotes safe, healthy, and productive communities for students and campus employees alike.