Our Opinion: Together we stand, campus and community

We all got a sobering reminder of how far we’ve come since 2011 last weekend, when tornadoes ripped apart our neighboring communities of Baxter Springs, Kan. and Quapaw, Okla.

The devastation touched our hearts, and we didn’t hesitate to lend our aid, just as our neighbors helped us when we were the ones in the path of the storm.

After the May 2011 EF5 tornado that leveled much of Joplin, Missouri Southern and the community joined together to rebuild the city we all call home, whether we are native Joplin residents or students and staff of Missouri Southern.

Luckily, Southern’s campus was not effected by the tornado and people of the community were able to look to the University for support just as the University looks to the community for support in better times.

In the past few years we have seen a complete renovation to the first floor of Hearnes Hall, an iconic lion statue constructed in the middle of Lion Pride Plaza and other minor enhancements to the Missouri Southern campus. Over the next few years, Southern plans to construct a new residence hall complex, an end zone facility and a baseball stadium.

These enhancements have the possibility to attract more students to Southern, including those from across the state line, who qualify for in-state tuition. In addition, in using the lion statue as a rallying point for a new vision of Missouri Southern, our campus can reach out to attract our local community. Not only has Southern grown over the past few years, so has Joplin.

This city has rebuilt and even expanded to be bigger and better than it was before. We wish the same fate for Baxter and Quapaw, and we hope to see Joplin and Missouri Southern continue to grow together.