|These students show determination to affect campus life. Or maybe they just play football.|
However, students control their collective destiny and the campus culture in ways they may never realize. Here are twelve ways Trinity students can make their experience better, for themselves and others. There is a theme here: Your experience is what you make it.
12. Tread lightly into Gossip sites
Every year the staff receives requests from students to do something about specific posts on any number of gossip sites. We can't. Working with the sites is logistically impossible. Last year our complaints about one site resulted in it being taken down by Facebook, because it was a personal rather than group page. It sprang up immediately thereafter as a group page. Free speech rules the day, even if it is mean.
What students can do: Be nice to each other for starters. Understand that these sites rely on audiences. Don't like the content? Don't participate and don't "like" absurd comments. (That works better than challenging comments, as trolls then take control.)
11. Peeing and puking in the dorm stairwell
This is against the rules, no doubt. The sad thing is that everyone around the area has to live with it until the cleaning crew gets in after the weekend. Never mind that we wait for minimum wage workers to come in Monday morning to clean up the elements left behind by a privileged few... It is disgusting.
What students can do: Use the bathroom. And clean up after yourselves. And tell your peers who do this that they are gross.
10. Caring about the Planet on Campus
While the University has put resources into recycling, after student efforts failed, and made concessions in the dining areas, only a few passionate students really care enough about the environment to do anything.
What students can do: The best thing is to put trash and recycling in the correct receptacles. It is so simple, yet contamination undermines the efforts of those who care about Mother Earth. And use the water refill stations if possible.
9. Managing the three-year residency requirement
By year two, living with a roommate becomes stale, especially after having a single room all the way up UNTIL college. For now, the administration is committed to this, but some new configurations for junior and senior single rooms may be on the horizon.
What students can do: Push the issue with student government and the administration. And find a good roommate.
8. Get into the Act on the Welcome Week Concert
Students generally want a big name band. But, they are really expensive - upwards of $50,000. So we often settle on a recognizable name on the way down rather than on the way up.
What students can do: Identify and push for favorite local or lesser known bands that students really want to hear. The Program Board wants ideas, but suggesting Kanye or The Beatles will not help...
7. Get used to being asked to give back
The majority of our students receive some aid. Trinity is also seen as a tremendous bargain relative to other like-institutions. When students are asked to adopt a mindset of giving it isn't to pad the wallets of faculty and staff. Campuses are expensive because of the specialized labor, technology, and facilities. The best way to make a school is affordable is to raise money to make it less expensive.
What students can do: Statements such as "This place already got enough of my money" are overly cynical. Did you receive aid? Do you want others to take advantage of the same experience? Giving is an affirmation of one's own experience and an investment in those to follow.
6. Park far away
Most employees aren't very sympathetic about student parking concerns. Most paid more for parking (and it was further away) when they were in school. A few years ago we offered free parking for students who agreed to park in a north campus lot (think long-term parking at the airport). There were no takers. Students generally want parking nearby. (So do the faculty and staff.)
What students can do: Ask the Parking Committee to look more broadly at parking strategy rather than just at ticket prices. No one wants to deal with parking, so students have to insist they do through student committee reps. And maybe accept that parking further away is just a thang.
5. Show school spirit
Last year during the TU-hosted conference basketball championships our women lost a close battle to nearby Texas Lutheran College. Their fans out-numbered ours two to one, easily. That's a shame. The administration can't give students school spirit, it needs to come from within.
What can students do: Want school spirit? Show school spirit. Especially keep an eye out for conference rivalries, tournaments, and playoffs.
4. Accept the food or suggest changes
I have eaten at many other campuses and have only experienced one that was better (Richmond). And the students and parents pay a lot more for it there. The thing is, the dining staff wants feedback. They do surveys, go out into the dining room to question customers, and solicit on-line comments. (Often, students won't talk to them.) The student government has been asked repeatedly to assist, but tends not to.
What students can do: "The food sucks..." is not feedback. Students should talk to ARAMARK staff and give them specific feedback. Don't like how something is prepared or served? Tell someone. Have some different ideas? Tell someone. Tell them immediately. Be blunt.
3. Understand the alcohol policy
Trinity probably has the most reasonable policy in the country. Over the last decade the philosophy and policy have evolved to be realistic because of student involvement and feedback. The philosophy: we acknowledge students will drink; care deeply about student health and safety; and will enforce policy because the law says we have to.
What students can do: We get it. Students will drink. It is not ethical or moral. it is like speeding. Take your chances, and sometimes you get caught and most times you don't. Trinity is not against alcohol. Go to an employee party and see for yourself. Just try not to hurt yourselves and others. Call for help if someone is in danger and no one gets in trouble.
2. Alcohol? Again? Designated Driving
Designated drivers should not be the least drunk drivers. At times students have wanted a safe ride program to drive students to off campus parties and back. We couldn't get insurance and it is uber expensive.
What students can do: What is free, already in place, and readily available? Yep. Take a night off from drinking and keep each other safe.
1. Prevent Sexual Assault
There has been so much focus on what institutions are doing wrong when they learn of assaults. The key is to prevent as many as possible.
What students can do: Demand safe parties or blacklist specific houses or groups. Students can protect one another, declare safe zones and times. Students can ensure that those who accompany them to parties return with them. Students are the culture they create.