Joplin, Southern made special by members of community, students

Hallie Hocker, Sports Editor

Hallie Hocker, Sports Editor

It’s ironic that out of all the colleges I was looking to attend, Southern wasn’t really even on my list. However, I don’t know if any other school would’ve fit as well as Southern has fit me.

Joplin, Missouri-some may consider it a “cow town,” but it really isn’t.

Cow towns don’t have stoplights.

Much to the amusement of some of my friends from Kansas City, I am still working on honing my

stoplight changing skills.

In fact, I really don’t see too many cows around the town of Joplin. This is a good thing, because I’ve heard the air quality isn’t the best here, so cow patties would just make things worse.

No, while Joplin may lack the cow per capita ratio to be a “cow town,” it certainly has some of the friendliest people anyone could find in any community that boasts strong Angus bulls and beautiful red Hereford calves.

There are friendly people all over Joplin.

Out of all the colleges that I visited, I received the most cheerful and warm welcome at Missouri Southern.

As a visiting student, not only faculty, but also students made eye contact, smiled, and took a genuine interest in how I was doing that day. This little effort on their part made a huge difference in my college decision. In fact, it made a big impression on me as a high school kid looking forward to college life.

Now that I’ve been at Southern for almost two semesters, I can say that people here aren’t just friendly at the beginning of the year, when it’s 70 degrees, sunny, and perfect like it is the day or two before and after it snows in Joplin.

No, people actually greet people they don’t even know with a smile on days when it seems like you have to walk a mile in the cold biting breeze to get back across campus.

Now that’s genuine: to be friendly even when you hate walking around 10,000 steps a day in the

cold to and from class.

In a lot of towns, the people won’t even make eye contact with you or give the friendly “I don’t know you but I’ll say ‘hi’ anyway” wave. You won’t even get so much as a nod.

It’s comforting to know there’s not much of that problem in Joplin.

It seems like I can go to the Lion’s Den, Wal-Mart, the mall or the gym, and someone is bound to be friendly along the way.

Of course, it always helps if I’m friendly towards them.

Coming from a “cow town” (we really do have quite a few cows), it’s nice to know there is some small hometown friendliness at college.

I thought I wanted to attend a large university to have some time to myself, join a fencing club and be busy all the time.

I was ready to get out and meet new people and do new things.

I didn’t think I’d get that at Missouri Southern, or more specifically, in a “cow town” like Joplin, but I was wrong.

I am really glad I came to school here.

Why wouldn’t you want to spend four years as a Lion, with the opportunity to study abroad almost anywhere in the world, with a mall within walking distance from campus or a skyline with a magnificent array of colors every day at sunset?

While I’ve noticed sunsets in Joplin are astounding, it’s the people that really make the town and Southern special.