WU not a hard sell

ReAnne Utemark

After the whirlwind of coverage Washburn received last week, I am left wondering: what’s next?

The university lost the battle over the “Power W,” President Farley was reprimanded over a controversial letter he wrote to a judge with Washburn University stationery and the Topeka Capital-Journal reported that enrollment was up at all of the Kansas Regents’ schools.

Washburn administration seems to have been running around with its collective head cut off, telling everyone that probable lower enrollment and consequential budget cuts are going to hurt, but that they won’t effect students. Perhaps it should effect students, not necessarily in a negative way, although it probably will, but in a way that allows for student input in their university.

So what does it mean and what are we going to do about enrollment?

I love my university – I love that I am an Ichabod, true blue, and that I have received an education here that is paralleled by few institutions. However, I fear for my prospective alma mater – times are going to get worse before they are going to get better.

So, the economy is bad, enrollment is thought to be down (numbers had not been released as of press time) and I am wondering why it has been so hard to sell WU.

Washburn is an undergraduate university with lots of possibilities, including the opportunity to do real undergraduate research and present it at conferences, where professionals in the field can comment on the work and perhaps provide guidance that can help a student grow. A Washburn student can visit a foreign country and gain a better understanding of the rest of the world.

All of this at a comparatively low tuition rate and insanely low fees. Washburn’s tuition is about $30 per hour less than KU’s, and their fees are about $700 less. Yet, at Washburn my undergraduate sociology, chemistry and history classes were all taught by professors – not graduate students who view the lowly, peon undergraduate student as a bother. I have done research with these professors and they have encouraged me to get more out of my undergraduate education.

Even for those who do not plan on getting more than a bachelor’s degree, Washburn offers more attention and equal opportunities. A resumé that indicates international travel or individual research will probably be more impressive than just a plain Jane bachelor’s degree.

Is that so hard to sell?

If nothing else, sell the fact that a student can get money to go to amazing places.

More needs to be done to sell all of Washburn, other than the recreation center and student life. Both are certainly important aspects of a University campus, but there is so much more that can make one feel just as connected to the community.

This is not an attack on admissions – I understand that it is a difficult aspect of campus, particularly during hard times. This is not an attack on the administration, or student life, or the SRWC or anyone else I have mentioned in this column. It is a plea to listen to students – let this affect us. Ask us our opinion, let us help our university.