Two weeks ago, I wrote a column highlighting the fantastic dialogue that exists between students and faculty at Whitworth. Generally, faculty are happy to engage with students in conversation on just about any topic and faculty members generally express interest in the feedback of their students as well. As a matter of fact, out of all the things that Whitworth University does well, listening to the students may be one of the best.
At a larger college like University of Washington, if students are unhappy with a certain aspect of campus, chances are their voices will never reach further than their living room. Those changes will likely never be made and if they are, it is very unlikely that the change was caused by the students. Here, students influence change all the time.
Take the new study room on the first floor of the library for example. What used to be a room housing neglected newspapers and the occasional book sale is now an elegant, peaceful study room. Furnished with gorgeous couches and several tables, that glass- windowed room on your right as you enter the library is now actually worth checking out. The best part about it? The study room was a result of a student survey last school year.
Several other student-influenced changes on campus have occurred over the last year or two, including the addition of the single study rooms on the second floor of the library. Since those rooms were installed, rarely will you find one of them unoccupied.
Even the 100-year-old tradition of locker room-style showers in McMillan Hall has changed after student life listened to the voice of the students. There were recently dividers installed in parts of the showers in Mac—much to the chagrin of the more traditionalist “Mac Men”. And although it is always difficult to see a decade old tradition change, times have changed, and change is how a university excels.
There are many reasons why Whitworth has serious staying power as a university. From the diversity, the robust faculty, the energized student life and even the food in Sodexo (you’ll understand when you live off-campus), Whitworth offers an above average experience all the way across the board. But at the end of the day, it is the constant evolution and changing of the university that will bring it life for years to come.
With tuition levels at an all-time high, it is comforting as a student to know that our money is paying for something. Whether it is your parent’s money, your money or the government’s money, if nothing else, that over $45,000 is paying for you to have a voice. So whether you are a freshman, or somebody that just feels lost amongst the crowd here at Whitworth, remember, you do have a voice.
In fact, next time you have an idea for change on campus, tell somebody. You may be surprised what you can accomplish by simply expressing your voice at this university. For all you know, that statue of George Whitworth and his neck beard that you’ve been dreaming of could one day be a reality.
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