On Thursday, Oct. 24, Loquitur printed an article entitled, “Suitcase Campus Leaves Residents Lonely On Weekends.” I would like to take this opportunity to respond to that article by informing the campus community on how you can get involved in assisting us with creating a new philosophy of co-curricular development. In addition, I would like to provide you with some information that may have been left out of the article regarding weekend programming at Cabrini College.
The article was correct, Cabrini College is growing. Every year many students, faculty, staff and community members are coming to campus because they see the endless possibilities and opportunities that are occurring. As a new administrator at Cabrini College, one of the many reasons why I chose to work here was the opportunity for learning, development and growth. However, the ultimate reason is, “To assist the student body in their development.” I want you to ask yourself why you really choose to come to Cabrini College?
“Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future,” John F. Kennedy said. As we all know, transformation and change is apparent at our institution. Just look at the amount of change that has recently occurred at Cabrini College: new professional staff in the office of Student Development, new building facilities, new services and new educational and co-curricular programs. As a new administrator, I have listened to many students, faculty and staff on how Cabrini College was in the past and how discontented some individuals have been about many issues from programming, safety concerns, not enough common areas, lack of a student union building, etcetera. Well, we can’t miss out on the future and the future is upon us. It is time to get involved.
In the last two months that I have been working here, I can truly say, if the institution wants to move away from a suitcase college environment, then we all must work together in order to change the direction of programming at our institution. More importantly, we need the student body, more than ever before, to lead this charge and become our leaders of tomorrow advocating creativity, open mindedness, innovation and becoming more actively involved. To achieve this goal is not a simple task. One particular office, person, student organization, student leader or even an increase in financial funding to provide activities on weekends will not resolve this issue. It is up to you, all cavalier students, faculty, staff and alumni. This is a matter of quality versus quantity programming. This is a matter of developing leadership opportunities for our students within student organizations, college task forces, committee meetings, etc. I believe, if students create opportunities to bring quality events to Cabrini on the weekends, then more students will eventually involve themselves with either attending or coordinating the event. More programming is not necessarily better. Rather programs and events that have a significant impact on students will build a foundation for creating a philosophy of quality programming.
Since I have arrived at Cabrini College, concerns regarding weekend programming have been mentioned at all levels at our institution. However, according to the Oct. 24 article, our students, which are our most important people, believe there isn’t any effort made to accommodate people staying on the weekend. I find this statement a bit untrue. I believe students when they say we need more quality events and better means of communicating these events on campus, but I don’t necessary believe there has been no effort on behalf of the administration and student organizations to keep students here on the weekends. I believe that students choose to leave on the weekends because they are working hard to pay for their college tuition, visiting their family members, or are not used to the new change of having some activities planned on the weekends. Furthermore, I think the issue may even be larger. Students may not know how to get involved with Cabrini.
I can tell you that we have been creating assessments within the office of Student Activities and administering them. Even the student run Campus Activities and Programming Board is beginning to assess programs, events and actually re-structure their organization, too. These are just a few students that are willing to make a difference and impact this institution. How are you involved on campus with student organizations, leadership development, programming, advising, etc? What were you doing while all these events were going on at campus? I am not advocating that studying for classes and academics is not a priority, it is and should be your number one priority. I am only addressing the issue at hand – the suitcase college image.
Andy Warhol once said, “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” Problems get solved when individuals get involved. If we want things to change on campus, such as weekend activities and the idea of students being more actively involved on campus, then we need to practice a new philosophy where we all understand that we are all equal partners in constructing a better Cabrini collegiate environment.
When you get involved with your institution extraordinary visions are developed. Furthermore, research has shown that the more involved you are the better your grades will be (Alexander Astin’s involvement theory). Well, I want to assist our institution to become more visionary by creating a collegiate environment that coordinates quality activities where students are able to take ownership in the planning process: Where students are able to enhance their value system, develop skills and make ethical and moral decisions that impact their peers and the community; Where students are able to leave their legacy and come back as alum and say, “hey I was part of that,” or “I was the one who started that.”
I commend the newspaper for bringing this issue to light. However, I would advise that students involve their Student Government Assosiation with issues on campus. This issue needs to be addressed and there is much more work that needs to be done. We have talked the talk. Now it is time to walk the walk by getting involved.
Here is one of many chances to make a difference on campus. I would like to invite Kelly Finlan, and the other students quoted in the newspaper article of Oct. 24, and any other students who would like to get involved to attend a pizza and wings brainstorming session scheduled for Monday, Dec. 2, at 5 p.m., until 6:30 p.m., at the New Residence Hall fourth floor lounge. Please call the office of Student Activities at extension 8407 in advance to RSVP. I look forward to working with you on this endeavor.