MSSU suffers ‘identity crisis’

Joshua Boley

Joshua Boley

How often do students attending Missouri Southern feel like the University falls short in the sense of providing a true college experience?

The combination of movies and television has shown the youth of the nation what their college years should look like.

Although there are obviously some unrealistic expectations such as everyone has six-pack abs, it’s always sunny and you can hit the surf after class, some expectations are fairly reasonable.

How awesome would it be to go to a basketball game and see the stands packed with students cheering on the home team?

Could you imagine a small army of students all decked out in green and gold attending a campus event?

Unfortunately this is not the case. Students attending a home basketball game will find just as many (if not more) community members as they will students. Additionally, the students who do attend are either athletes themselves or barely paying attention.

Obviously, all campus life does not revolve around athletics.

While Southern does technically have a greek presence, it is lacking, to be polite.

There is a small handful and with no houses, they do seem to lack the impact they might have at larger institutions.

It’s not just entering freshmen that are let down by the Southern experience, but those transferring from  area community colleges such as Ozark Technical College in Springfield and Crowder College in Neosho.

These students have paid their dues and are ready to kick their career into high-gear only to find that, really, there is no high-gear at Southern.

The problem is that Southern is a University with an identity crisis. Southern wants to be a big school, but not too big.

It wants to have an on-campus presence but bill itself to commuters.

Not everything is wrong at Southern.

The University is located in a prime place to pull students from a large area, being, for the most part, at the intersection of interstate 44 and 71 and the corner of four states.

It also seems to be doing fairly well at picking up international students.

The recent new logo image and mascot are hopefully something that stays around for a while and allow the University to finally develop a sense of self.

Southern’s “master plan” looks good on paper and we will see how that translates to reality.

Beyond that, here are a few things Southern could do that may help with its multiple personalities.

First, improve the dorms and encourage incoming students to move on campus.

This will get a larger number of students feeling like this is more than just a place to get an education.

It becomes a home for them.

Next, either let the greeks have houses, or get rid of them altogether and sell the college as wholesome campus.

The college needs to move one way or the other as sitting on the fence and trying to please everyone is not working.

Finally, the campus has to find a way to get people excited about their teams and the University in general.

Let students get loud at games so long as they are not being totally destructive or obscene.

Encourage the players to actually celebrate after a win, high-five some fans and what-not. Get the fans involved.

There are sure to be students and faculty that think Southern is fine just the way it is.

However, that’s really part of the problem.

We should not be satisfied with being fine.

We should strive to the best.

At the very least, we should at least make an attempt to better the situation.