Change

Let’s Talk Change URI

June 24, 2015 in Campus Life, Colleges, Reviews

 It’s a bit unrealistic to like everything about your college and its campus, right? Well, the University of Rhode Island is no exception to that. From the hassle of selling back your old textbooks  to limited parking spaces and even the off-campus social scene,there are a few things I would change about URI and here’s why:

URI Bookstore

URI Bookstore

One thing I would change about URI would have to be the inconvenience of the bookstore. Every semester, thousands of students purchase books for their classes, some of them are never even used while others are used once or twice during the entire course. Not only is this unfair, but when it comes to the end of the school year, selling back your books to the URI Bookstore is horrifying. I’ve had instances where I’ve purchased a hardcover textbook for over $60 and have received $5-10 back. This just doesn’t seem fair especially because students cannot afford to be buying such expensive books. I remember as I freshmen, I was willing to purchase an expensive book because I was told I could sell it back to the URI Bookstore, but after realizing they would only pay me for a fraction of the original price, I stopped purchasing my books from them. Now, I use other alternatives allowing me to rent books and mail them back without any additional cost.
A URI Parking Lot

A URI Parking Lot

Ask anyone and they’ll tell you how difficult it is to find on-campus parking. It usually starts off with an angry tone then a few dirty looks followed by one or two heavy breathes of frustration. These are the immediate responses of URI students when parking is mentioned. There’s always construction, which means heavy duty machinery is most likely blocking parking spots. With an increase in student body each year, you would think the school would add more parking spots conveniently near dorm buildings or even the library, but no. That’s the least of their worries and as you can see from the image above, some parking lots have massive potholes preventing students from pulling into spaces. If you ask me, some of these holes seem unsafe and could damage a student, faculty member or vehicle. For now, URI continues to expand its departments and programs by adding to the campus without taking into consideration the lack of parking spaces available.
South Kingstown Police

South Kingstown Police

The last thing thing that makes the University of Rhode Island difficult to stand is the off-campus social scene. Being a dry campus has arguably ruined URI’s reputation as being a party school. It’s difficult to even have friends over in your dorm room because the Residential Assistant (RA) may consider it to be a party. With that being said, most parties and friendly gatherings are ‘down the line’ in Narragansett and South Kingstown, where most upperclassmen live. This is about a twenty minute ride off campus, making the commute to hang out with friends a dreaded trip. In recent years, the parties off-campus have resulted in a lot of issues with local police. This has started a parking ban in off-campus residential neighborhoods throughout evenings and into the night. Students are now unable to get together with their friends because of transportation issues as well as disagreements with town police. What ever happened to having fun while in college?
 
It’s an unfortunate situation when the college or university you attend seems to make decisions without the student body in mind. In my opinion, these are changes that the University of Rhode Island should take into consideration and potentially change in order to be have a more positive effect on students. Although URI has been my home for the past three years, those in charge may need pay closer attention to its Rhody students and their desires for change. 

Think About Change: What I Would Change About UNH

July 18, 2014 in Alive Campus, Colleges

There is no denying that UNH is a great school. It has a large variety of majors, minors, and courses to take; it has a fantastic sports fan base that ranges from townies to alumni; the campus is gorgeous; and it has one of the best dining halls around. There is always something that any student wants to change about their college or university. Personally, if there was any thing I could change about New Hampshire’s flagship university, I would change the cost to attend there. The tuition is outrageous for a state school. But we are talking about the third most expensive state university in the country (falling behind University of Pittsburgh and Penn State), and that’s only looking at in-state tuition! When you look at out of state tuition, you’re adding almost thirteen THOUSAND dollars to the cost. The only way that doesn’t sting as much when you’re taking out your semester loans is if you get the out of state grant that the university gives to a large amount of out of state students. Let take a look at what that tuition is covering before really getting into why this needs to be changed.

The growing cost of education

Tuition Breakdown

Before any fees are even brought into the equation, you have to pay for your education. If you are from the granite state, you’re paying $13,670 per year ($6,835 a semester or $570 per credit hour). For the out of staters, this cost is almost double. The out of state tuition comes to $26,650 per year ($13,325 a semester or $1,110 per credit hour). There is then the luck of the draw tuition reduction or inflation depending on your major. If you are in a major that UNH offers but your state’s university doesn’t (such as Classical Studies, Equine Studies, Genetics, Linguistics, Outdoor Education, Russian, Zoology, among others) you can get the reduced tuition of $23,922.50 per year through the New England Regional Student Program (NERSP). If you are a CEPS Engineering and Computer Sciences major; in the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics; or a music major you get to pay more. CEPS adds on $965 per year to your tuition. A business major? I hope you know how to add $946 per year to your tuition. And music majors, you don’t get spared. $800 per year gets added to your tuition every year to study music.

These large fees can go up by $20+ dollars depending on what classes you are taking as well. Shouldn’t those tickets for that performance you are required to attend be already built into your tuition? Many would say yes.

The Fees

For the majority of students, there are several fees that you have to pay along with your tuition. These don’t even include your living expenses, but we’ll get to those. First, there is your student activity fee ($96 per year). This fee covers many of the great programs and events offered throughout this year. At the very least it make your personal cost only about five dollars for a ticket to the event if it isn’t free. The next fee is the Health Services and Counseling fee of $607 per year. At UNH, you are required to have insurance (either through your parents or through the school) and while this fee does serve a purpose, why doesn’t the insurance cover this? The next three fees are yet another way to aid events on campus. The Memorial Union, Student Recreation, and Student Athletics fees combined come out to $1862 per year. And for the most part, there are no complains about the Memorial Union or Student Rec fees since students get a lot out of them It’s the Student Athletics fee that causes issue, but I will get more into that later. The rest of the fees are quite useful in the form of the Technology and Transportation fees. These cover IT visits for computer troubles and all of the bus usage you can fit into a year!

The Issue

The issues that would prompt change come mostly from the large tuition cost along with larger fees, like Student Athletics. Many students just want to know what their tuition is really going towards. How much is going towards our education? How much is just being pocketed by the university? What cash is really going where? The biggest issue among all students is the fee for athletics. Not everyone is an athlete so why should all students have to pay this almost thousand dollars. Some would say that it covers tickets to sporting events but even if you went to every game for say football, hockey, and whatever your other favorite sport is, you still would not spend all of the money you’re paying for this fee.

Thinking time: Should some fees have a waiver? Should there be more transparency about where money goes? Education is a right, not a privilege and maybe its time for tuition (all over the US) to reflect that.

Two Things I Would Personally Change about University of Redlands

June 16, 2014 in Campus Life, Health

image from labyrinth-enterprises.com

Well the title itself is already opinionated, so I figure the rest of what I’m talking about should be just as opinionated. While everything I’m listing will be out of personal unhappy experiences, not everything is as bad as it seems. In an overall glance, Redlands has a ton to offer and these terrible experiences have given me light on my life education. Here are a few things I would change about the University of Redlands.

  • The Food:

I know I recently wrote an article about the dining services on campus, but I didn’t want to go into how much I despise it. Although there is a ton of variety, if it’s the same type of menu, for the entire semester, there’s no doubt I’ll be losing my money going out to eat. Although they are offering a market with pre-made salads and sandwiches, I’ve seen friends purchase and throw out their food because there was either hair in it, an odd, abnormal coloring to the salad, or even throwing up undercooked meat. I’ve been served burnt food before. Food is put under heat lamps and doesn’t feel like it’s cooked that well. It’s a nightmare. I am only attributing any of this to the Irvine Commons/The Plaza Café, but overall it seems like I’m wasting my money on my meal plan. I need to know that my food is safe and cooked properly. Also it wouldn’t hurt to try and switch up the menu every now and then. Start cooking food more often, so it doesn’t feel like I’m eating a hot dog that’s been there for half an hour under a heat lamp. I want to be a healthy human being and not get food poisoning.

 

  • The Theater Department:

Every department has its politics, that’s a fact. It’s impossible to deny that any student organization or on-campus organization will have it’s mistakes/faults. But in my personal experience, the theater department has upset me. I came into Redlands with my first look at theater behind-the-scenes, having never performed/was a techie for a show. Ironically enough, there was a ton of drama. From pre-casting shows to directors showing up late, it’s a nightmare. Did you know we only have three professors on staff? Three professors to teach an entire department in breadth of acting, directing, history, design, technical work, and more. You really can only hire adjunct professors for so long. It’s awful to be in a transition phase at the school, but it doesn’t mean that the students need to be treated like children. My one experience is showing up to a three-hour rehearsal, only to be used for maybe the last fifteen minutes. In that time I could have been doing homework, but no, we were told to be out in the audience. It’s hard to write papers when singing and dancing is going on let me tell you. If there’s anything I would change it would be to feel like I’m getting a good education out of the classes I’m taking at a private university, instead of feeling like a child/a meat object.

 

As I prefaced, it’s my own personal experiences that I feel this way and miscommunication between people cause for different tellings of any story, but it does not change the fact of how people feel/stop us from puking from undercooked meat. Besides little details such as these, I’ve had an enjoyable experience at the University of Redlands and have learned a lot from my education.

Meet Kristin: Your Latest Kentucky Wildcat

May 9, 2014 in Admissions, Alive Campus, Colleges, Travel

 

Kristin is currently finishing up her senior year of high school in the small town of Dudley, Massachusetts. In just a few short months she will be packing up to begin her college career, saying goodbye to family, friends, and her lovely boyfriend, Zachary.  Kristin won’t just be moving down the block. She will be traveling hundreds of miles to her new home at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.  Since this is such a big and drastic change for Kristin, I sat down with her to discuss the ins and outs of her college decision process.

KristinUK  UKWildcats  KristinUK2

Q: Massachusetts to Kentucky. That is certainly a big leap. How did you first become interested in the school?

A: Kentucky has always been my dream school. The school first caught my attention through their incredible cheerleading program.  The team has won innumerous national championships. Not to mention the fact they get to cheer for one of the finest basketball teams in the nation.  I have been a cheerleader my entire life and figured I would love to be part of what must be a very spirited and passionate university.  Sure enough, when I went to visit the University of Kentucky I could not help but notice nearly everyone was wearing the UK logo and the school colors.  Almost everyone I talked to had a story to share about their love and excitement for Kentucky basketball.  Pretty instantly, I began to feel like I belonged there.

Q: How do you feel about leaving behind New England for a little taste of Southern life?

A: Well, first and foremost I will miss all of my friends and family back home.  If I could just take them all with me, attending UK would be the easiest decision I’ve ever made in my life.  Besides that though, I can’t wait to jump into the Southern lifestyle.  I love country music and hate cold weather.  I certainly won’t miss the ridiculous winters and snowstorms we have back in Mass.

Q: What do you plan on doing at the University of Kentucky? Do you have a major picked out? Any activities or clubs in mind?

I plan to major in Psychology and potentially minor in Spanish.  The subject of psychology has always interested me and I have heard great things about UK’s Psychology department.  As far as activities and clubs go I am still pretty undecided. I definitely want to get involved somehow but I think I will have to wait and see what catches my eye once I get there.  On my tour, I did hear about UK’s Squirrel Watching Club. Any students that join a club like that seem like they could be my kind of people. I also would like to play some kind of sport. Maybe kickball or tennis.

Q: I realize this decision is a long ways away but do you see yourself staying in Kentucky after graduation or do you think you might head back North?

A: I’m really not sure yet but that’s one of the reasons I’m so happy I decided to go to a school so far away from home.  It’s great to have the option of going back home if I don’t end up liking life in Kentucky. But if I had stayed local, I would never know if Kentucky is truly where I belong! I’m excited to see how the next four years will unfold and am so blessed to know I have the best friends and family that will support me wherever I may end up!

Changing SU

March 21, 2014 in Academics

Overall I am Syracuse’s number one fan. I live and breathe this school, I miss this weird place when I am away, and sometimes I even find myself wishing summers were shorter. With that being said, there are definitely some things that I would change about this school.

One thing that yanks my chain is the process of adding or dropping a class after the deadline is tedious and annoying. Doing so involves a series of paperwork that ends up needing to be signed by at least four different people. Running back and forth from building to building trying to find certain individuals becomes complicated and tiresome.  I declared my major as a second semester sophomore. I ended up switching into another major, but my plan was to keep both majors. The administration lost my paperwork, so I was technically never declared. I found out this information while I was abroad, so with a time difference and the Atlantic Ocean separating me from Syracuse, there was little I could do to help my cause. I had emailed back and forth with my program, and to my knowledge I had everything settled and figured out.

When I returned to school in the spring I received emails telling me otherwise, that I was still not declared. I ended up running back and forth from building to building trying to sort out my situation. This was the last thing I wanted to be dealing with, and while trying to sort out my situation I found administrative workers to be extremely rude and not helpful in my time of need. I realize that papers get lost, misplaced, whatever you want to call it, but all I needed was at least a smile and some reassurance that my situation would be fixed, and I did not find this.

Here comes the big one, tuition. Tuitions at most private schools around the country are unnecessarily expensive, but Syracuse University is definitely up there on the list of most expensive schools. The total cost ends up being $54,512, and that’s not including books and supplies, transportation, and personal expenses. There are available scholarships, but of course there is an intensive and selective admission process…nothing ever comes easy!

Since the tuition is so high, it would be nice for the school to include basic needs into the pricing. Imagine if books were included? Or $2,000 from your tuition went to buying books? Wouldn’t that be incredible? Nothing is worse than going up to the counter of your bookstore with literally three books, perhaps only two are textbooks, and your total is calculated to $350. Excuse me—this is blind robbery.

To be honest it took me a bit to even think of these little things that I would change about the school. In general, I love most things about Syracuse, don’t get me wrong, but for the price that we pay to attend, sometimes you think facilities would be better, the food would be tastier, and the dorms would be cleaner. But hey, maybe I’m being picky?

Students on the quad