With Vanguard undergoing reprioritization, expansion, and construction, a lot of positive changes are happening on campus. Administration buzzes with excitement over the potential experiences for students to come. But as current students feel the effects of these everyday changes, we feel ourselves asking the question:
At what cost?
It is hard to look in the face of so many amazing things for the university’s future, and yet still feel forgotten as someone who is here right now.
In the euphoria of progress and growth, I am left feeling like my investment in this university has not been returned with consideration for my experience. Sacrifices must be made for change to occur, but can I afford to sacrifice vital years of my education?
I am told I shouldn’t complain because it’s worse at a big public university, whether it be with parking or construction or access to administration, but we aren’t at a large public school. We put so much value in an institution of being a close-knit community; it is unfair to argue public school students must deal with these issues regularly.
That’s why we chose Vanguard.
We entered a campus that insisted that “your story matters” and that these words would make our experience fundamentally different.
We put so much emphasis on marketing our close faculty-student relationships, it is only natural that we feel the pain when those faculty are let go because they are no longer seen as a priority to our school.
And there hasn’t even been an email.
We only hear the rumors and murmurings of changes in other departments without a clear understanding of why. In the most dangerous way possible, students are left to draw their own conclusions that we are not cared for and alone; this is dangerous because within these speculations unfounded resentment festers.
With the lack of dialogue from administration, the message seems to be that the departments who are taking cuts aren’t the priority. That Music, Communication, Business, English, Theatre or the many other departments that have felt the shock of budget changes aren’t as important as nursing, cheerleading, or golf.
And it may seem small, but programs like the performing arts ministry teams (PAMT) only adds to the confusion. It may not be a “for profit” program, but so many students have had their lives positively touched by it, both as performers and those in the audience. And next summer’s team already being hired before the program was cut only makes it more confusing.
Communication majors hear word of CommFest ending without any talk of why such an important event–both to them and the school at large–is no longer being supported.
A theatre major loses faculty even though the department is a positive presence in the community.
Another student finds her business department has lost its chair, making her feel disconnected from her education in her final year.
Or when students try to go to the library late on a Friday night or early on a Saturday morning, they are met with closed doors. When it is open, they are met with less librarians.
These are the changes individuals are seeing across campus, because there is no bigger picture.
Three years ago when there was a tuition spike, President Beals held a town hall to address students’ concerns and show where the university stood. Why couldn’t we have that again?
Because with the lack of communication, a new question arises in the minds of students…
It’s hard when change makes you feel invisible just because you are already here. This change makes many of us feel like we are no longer the priority in a place where we were told we were valued more than anything.
The Student Center, the new teams, the changes in departments are all things we can hope will make a positive impact in the future for Vanguard, but right now, when the current students aren’t reaping those rewards, we just want to know what’s going on.
So please, talk to us, comfort us, and show us we are valued right now. That’s why we chose Vanguard.
Emily Cookes says
I love this so much. It’s so hurtful that nothing has been conveyed to students about why certain departments were cut or why vital faculty members were let go. There hasn’t been any recognition given to students, and that’s really frustrating. This article really articulated a lot of the things that I’ve been feeling.
Madison Jones says
Excellent article. So many of us are wondering these same things. It’s so relieving to see our thoughts are shared.
This put words to my thoughts! Thank you, I feel a bit less alone now that there are many others who feel the same. As a student worker and an inhabitant of the library, it’s hard to see all the changes, even through the hope. I think the most difficult part was that the date of completion got moved to Spring 2020 after being told last semester that construction would only last a year.