In the course of the past few years, the landscape of our Stetson experience has changed immensely. Stover Theatre was torn down, as was Stetson Hall, with the Stetson Green now standing where the former residence hall used to be. The 2016 class was supposed to be the largest incoming class in Stetson’s 120-year history, only to be replaced by the 2017 class in that distinction.
The Commons transitioned to an all-you-care-to-eat system with the dawn of a partnership with a new food provider. For the last semester, and even for next fall, students have been living at the Clarion Hotel because of the lack of rooms caused by Stetson’s dramatic expansion.
Clearly, the university — our university — is experiencing a taste of a potential golden age. But such an age doesn’t come without a price.
With student life changing and good things happening, successes are met with newfound problems that inevitably arise from progress. Amidst all the changes the administration implemented and are still implementing, we the students have felt more and more disconnected with the people who assure us that all of this is for the better. Anger, frustration, and questions unanswered become more evident when tapping the student pulse.
Administrators have felt this and ensured that they did all they could to alleviate the stress of change but doing that after said changes have been made is rough to say the least.
So here’s what I hope to see for our future: Stetson will be the #1 private institution in the South again. Stetson will be a formidable force in intercollegiate athletics. Stetson will excel in community service contribution. And finally, Stetson will be an institution composed of diverse sets of people cooperatively working towards the same goal of creating a better environment for the proliferation of talents and opportunities for everyone.
I see administrators sitting down with students in town hall reminiscent meetings on a monthly basis to hear the student pulse and address their concerns. I see the University increasing financial aid to deserving students to ensure that finances never hinder a bright young mind’s opportunities. And I see a university moving forward not because the administrators are driving it forward, but because the students are striving for change and they come together with administration and work on changes and solutions to problems cooperatively.