Failure to create an academic community

Low student involvement in campus events and functions hampers the academic mission of the school and damages the university environment.

A MAWL member attends a game while empty seats show students’ lack of involvement at the school.
Kira Terry/UVU Review

A quick glance of the campus gives the appearance of a vibrant university.

Enrollment continues to increase so that classrooms are bursting at the seams and students constantly complain of a lack of sufficient parking space and class sections.

State legislators deemed the growth sufficient to authorize the construction of a multi-million dollar expansion to the science building amid the worst economic crisis in decades.

Despite this apparent clean bill of health, a serious problem plagues this school: that of students’ apathy towards involvement in the university.

A student population numbering 32,670 could only muster one qualified team of candidates to apply for a spot in last month’s student elections. More applicants should be expected with such a large pool of people from which to draw.

The time commitment and responsibility required to represent this student body may deter some would-be leaders, but not enough to offset the experience and credentials a student gains that can springboard them into life beyond school.

More alarming than the student body’s lack of ambition is their utter uninterest to involve themselves in the decision making process.

In the student government election itself, 703 students logged onto UVLink to vote. Two percent of the student body decided who would represent them and their 32,000 classmates.

Even athletics suffers from this student apathy. Men’s basketball could be termed the premier sports team on campus, playing in the 8,500 capacity UCCU Center.

This season, the team took first place in the conference, defeated a PAC-10 team on that team’s own court, captured back-to-back conference player of the week awards and possessed the conference player and coach of the year.

Yet this team has seen one home game where the UCCU Center approached capacity, thanks in part to fans brought by Utah State when they played UVU in December.

The average home attendance during the 2011 season was 2,013 and many of those fans were faculty or community members, not students.

Students here are academic zombies, going through the motions of attending class and completing assignments before drifting away from campus to socially feed elsewhere.

Granted, the Wolverines lack a superstar on a first name basis with the nation like a certain school up the road that is able to excite a large fan base and sell out a 22,700 seat arena. But a team that goes 11-1 in conference with the honors this team earned does not deserve to play in an arena that averages less than a quarter of its capacity. They are too damn good for that.

The majority of students here are academic zombies, going through the motions of attending class and completing assignments before drifting away from campus
to socially feed elsewhere.

While the practice of stocking a school with physical bodies that refuse to integrate themselves into a university environment works on a community college level of involvement, a true university cannot thrive or progress in this condition.

This is not high school where attendance equates to an education. This is an academic community where people must earn knowledge through discourse and an exchange of ideals.

How can one expect this communal system to function when an event that directly addresses student representation on campus garners a handful of attendees while droves of students will watch a doctor make a complete jackass of himself on stage?

What sort of community are we trying to create?

A university education demands more than mere attendance, it requires involvement and participation outside of the classroom.

If the students at this school cannot recognize this necessity, then they will negate all of the apparent success that this university has seen. The academic mission of the institution will languish and wither like a parasite-infested tree.

A student is nothing more than dead weight crippling the university’s success without participation extending beyond the classroom walls.

3 Responses to "Failure to create an academic community"

  1. janel   March 14, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    this is so true. students here say they want a football team, but they don’t even support the sports that are already here, that are so good and entertaining. i talked to jim michaelis about a football team. he said that will be considered more when students show support for the teams already represented at uvu. he said the school could not afford to fund a football program that students didn’t truly support, and believes that the lack of support shown the current teams at uvu will be indicative of what would happen with a football team. also, i find it extremely sad and pathetic that 2% of a 32,000 + student body couldn’t care any more about their own school elections than that. way to show spirit and initiative wolverines! way to make uvu proud! [note my words drip with sarcasm]

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  2. Emily   March 22, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    I agree that the lack of support for the school is sad compared to support given to other universities. I believe the bottom line is that people just don’t care. This is a commuter school and lack of parking is a bigger issue to most students. I think that most students don’t care because they know that Student Government doesn’t change anything. The last say goes to the board on student fees so they will do what they want no matter what the students want. The school just cares about taking our money and tuition. The focus is on the masses and not the individual student. Helping one student succeed is not the school’s priority. It comes across in the actions of the school and that is why students don’t care. They just want their education and want to get out. Unfortunately UVU is compared to other schools, mostly the “one up the street.” I look at the “one up the street” and…

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  3. Ben   September 13, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    There are more organizations at UVU promoting student activity and involvement than most other universities- yet the lack of identity is very evident on campus, besides the occasional UVU t-shirt and hanging banner promoting the next event or student organization. How should UVU shake its image of a commuter campus? In my opinion, the school should be designed to accomodate residential housing units on site? There is no room? True… What can be done? I don’t know. The construction of apartment complexes and investing in possible housing close to campus would start to race the feelings of detachment from campus. This campus has been designed to be a stop along the way and not a homebase.

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