Think back to your junior year of high school, or more specifically, that time when you were searching for colleges. I think I can say with absolute certainty that one of the foremost concerns on everybody’s mind, one with the power to make or break your final decision, was money: How in God’s name am I going to afford this?
While at Mercyhurst, money never ceases to be a problem, and it probably becomes this insurmountable thing which seems impossible to conquer. I got here, but how am I going to afford to live here?
‘Affording’ now becomes not only monetary, but tangible as well. In paying tuition to Mercyhurst College, there are certain things we come to expect. These could be anything from a certain standard of living to expectations of our teachers.
Taking these expenses into consideration, I’m concerned when it feels as though this institution isn’t prioritizing its funds effectively. Take, for example, Warde Hall and the gates.
Both projects were meant to further Mercyhurst’s goal of a higher freshman enrollment rate.
However, did both of them need to be completed within a year of each other? I know a lot of upperclassmen were kicking and screaming last year after Warde was built, wanting to know why the freshmen – no offense meant – were living in a hotel-like environment.
On the other hand, many of the returning students were falling sick because of mold in their apartments or unable to sleep because of bed bugs.
The revamping of the gates also caused an uproar – they have been standing on campus since 1950, and even before this summer’s project, they were still one of the most memorable features of campus.
In my opinion, the gate project should have been postponed another year and the money used on more improvements in the upperclassmen living area.
I know that much was done over the summer in terms of living conditions – the blue wall in our apartment is testament to that. However, there are still complaints of leaking faucets, broken stoves, doors that won’t close all the way, and the like.
Improving freshman application numbers is important, but retention must be equally so, and I think many upperclassmen feel overlooked.
What’s my advice? Ask students what they feel needs improved before the budget is planned, or at least make more transparent where the money is going and, more importantly, why it’s going there.
At the very least, this will help ease some concern over money matters.