The University of Portland's enrollment is increasing by an average 2.8 percent each year and in the upcoming years the University has plans to expand campus onto 35 acres next to the Willamette River. Though the University is trying to accomodate the growing student population through the expansion, it is important that the administration does not forget to address student needs and concerns about the current campus.
More students, more problems
Each year, the University continues to admit a record number of students. More tuition is undoubtedly an asset to the University, but when the University's current facilities are inadequate to meet even the most basic student demands, it would seem in bad policy to admit an increasing number of students each year.
The University is bursting at the seams and the administration has shoved student needs under the carpet while it continues to collect checks.
Currently, the overload of students on campus is a detriment to the health and wellbeing of the student body as a whole, and the University seems to be unable to provide equal respect and treatment for all parties. Classes are more crowded than they have ever been, lab sections are full to the point of being dangerous, current students are unable to enroll in the core classes they need because more spots than ever are reserved for freshmen, the Health Center is unable to provide enough appointments and students are living in forced triples.
The most immediate and effective solution is to cap the sizes of incoming classes. In order to function efficiently and effectively, the University is going to have to turn away some individuals in the interest of the entire student body.
Health Center needs more funds
If the University is going to continue to expand at its current rate, it's time the University started paying attention to the understaffed Health Center and supply it with the funds it needs and deserves.
The Health Center concerns one of the most important aspects of student life. For many students, the Health Center is their primary health care provider. However, it is struggling to fill the needs of University students. Students should not be turned away and forced to go to the hospital or another expensive clinic - which many students cannot afford - because the Health Center does not have enough staff.
If the University cannot provide sufficient funds to hire more Health Center staff, why was the Health Center not included as part of the RISE Campaign?
The current Health Center staff does an excellent job even though they are overworked and understaffed. It's time the administration gave them a helping hand.
College of Arts and Sciences needs to better prepare students
Career Services may be the Pamplin School of Business's best friend. Not only do business students take advantage of the services offered, they are often required to visit Career Services for resume and cover letter assistance. Business students are also required to complete an internship between their junior and senior years.
Students in the business school are prepared for the world after graduation because the school requires them to be, but many College of Arts and Science students are not offered support outside of Career Services.
It's time the College of Arts and Sciences stepped up its game.
The College of Arts and Sciences could, for example, work more closely with Career Services to prepare interview questions geared towards specific professions. The school could also require a 1-credit class for all juniors, in which they learn how to write a resume, cover letter and learn how to answer basic interview questions, as well as receive help finding and applying to internships.
We will all end up in the real world eventually, and we will all need to be prepared.
Hall receptionist funds could be used elsewhere
With the University having to cut nearly $600,000 worth of student worker jobs, the hall receptionist positions should be some of the first to be cut.
Though hall receptionists help Holy Cross meet its mission of being hospitable, the funds paying students to essentially do their homework could be used elsewhere.
The Office of Residence Life could retain hall receptionists during the peak hours of the day, so there is still someone at the door to greet people entering the residence halls during high traffic times. At times that are less busy, students can swipe their identification cards to get into the residence halls. This solution will save money and still allow for students and guests to be greeted when residence halls are busiest.
Give us a student center we can be proud of
If you've ever seen prospective students touring the University, you'll notice they never actually enter St. Mary's Student Center. Probably because the University actually wants students to come here. Because the University is here to serve its students, who pay a hefty tuition, students should have a student center that is inviting and that they want to spend time in.
The walls of St. Mary's shake as even the tiniest person walks across the building. The windows are in desperate need of repair; the fireplace is out of commission, there is usually something wrong with the bathrooms and the ceiling leaks.
As a small university, we are a community. Having a space to make connections outside of the classroom is a very important part of this. As students continue in their desired majors, it gets less likely that they will come into contact with students in other majors. Having a student center that all students can be proud of would unite students, increase friendships and acquaintances and foster a community that is close knit.
Why was the student center also overlooked in the RISE Campaign?
Though a library and recreational center should be the University's priority, so too should the student center. In future years, the University should make a new or renovated student center a priority.
Bottom line: This University should be a place that not only the administration can be proud of, but a place that students are proud to call home.