WANTED: traditional university experience

For the majority of my ten million semesters as an Missouri Southern student, I lived on or near campus. General consensus finds Chart readers agreeing that living within a short walking distance from campus is easier, more economic, and more enjoyable.

Housing opportunities near campus are lacking. But housing isn’t the only issue.

There are no locally-owned restaurants, cafes, or businesses to give our university the aesthetic college experience we want and need.

I’m from Lamar, MO, thirty-five miles north of Southern. With the obligatory ignorance of the legal speed limit, it takes about forty minutes to walk out the front door, make the commute, and walk to class. But since I moved to Joplin, I can walk to class and my job in less than five minutes.

Before, I spent $140.00 each month on gas, driving to Joplin three days a week. Now I can trek the five-minutes to class on a bowl of cereal and a cup of coffee, for nothing.

Of course, the cost of commuting is outweighed by the cost of living, and housing in general took a hit after the tornado.

Before May 22, however, the housing and entertainment options near the Newman and Duquesne intersection were all but non-existent.

The closest restaurants are not comfortably accessed on foot. Southern is in the boonies. Come on. Demand a college experience from the Board of Governors, not a new stadium for an ever-losing football team.

From the road, Missouri Southern has a dry and official tone. There is nothing personable or enticing in its appearance.

Actually, it can feel somewhat like a prison once you’re on the premises, having to drive elsewhere for any manner of enjoyment.

Most schools this size have restaurants and housing right next door. Why not Southern?

The land opposite Duquesne Road from East Hall lay fallow, likely destined to be a parking lot. But I prefer a chic coffee shop and a cool pizzeria in which I can guzzle a beer between classes. The lack of options in reference to housing is borderline puritanical.

The deficiency of access to culture and entertainment strains the Campus Activities Board, lowers retention, and increases the odds that Southern students will seek thrills through risky behavior (or not attend at all).

I know. I’m a student, not an uber-educated member of this school’s administration. But my advice to administrators is to let students live a little.

We’re cloistered mews, trapped in our mid-western shells. Coax us into the world by giving it to us. Don’t just teach us about it.

Give us culture, not football. Give us something new, something different. Give us experience.