Post Classifieds

The Xavier identity

By Mike Hills
On August 23, 2012

And classes have begun. Why, that is probably precisely
the reason you are even reading this. That is no matter. What matters is the personality of Xavier University.
Not too long ago I arrived at Xavier. I inevitably acclimated to college, like everyone does. I found at Xavier a university with a community. I found a 4,000 or so undergraduate population that was big enough to get lost but small enough to know people walking around campus.
I found at Xavier a faculty that knew you personally and genuinely cared about you inside of and outside of class.
That is still Xavier for me. It's the Xavier I've come to know and love. But there is a very serious question circulating
here. It started with faculty and has permeated the ranks of the elder students. Will Xavier retain its distinctive identity?
Sad to say, this is my last year. I've been here three years, after all, and in my three years a lot has changed here. Once again, I'm sad to say I'm that old geezer that remembers houses, former residences, which were home to offices such as the Dorothy Day Center for Faith and Justice and this very publication.
Now, the sprawling, 21st century Conaton Learning Commons and Williams College of Business impressively sit where old homey offices used to reside.
I came to Xavier as one of the biggest classes ever to enter Xavier. I was one of the very few who was not forced to triple
dorm rooms that were only planned for two occupants.
While not surpassing mine, the past two incoming classes have expanded the university nonetheless.
The cafeteria I ate in my freshman year was inside the Cintas Center. Now, that seems archaic and cramped compared with the expansive new Hoff Dining Commons inside the brand spanking new Fenwick Place.
I'm not saying I don't like more students on campus. I'm not saying I don't frequent the CLC or the business school. I've adored the beautiful new caf.
It is, however, alarming to me that so much is changing so quickly.
When I drove in to begin my senior year, I had to remind myself that this is indeed the same campus I entered three years ago.
Now, I understand
the university needed
a new dorm, and I understand the university needed a new building for the business school.
I'm even OK with a few more students; after all, it's not like we've doubled in size. The real issue at hand is the feel.
The seniors know Xavier as it was when we entered. It was our first memories of college after
all. This all seems perilously close to changing.
Even though we've added a few students, faculty
departments have complained Xavier is beginning to lose its small feel. It's too big, they say.
The new buildings
send the wrong message-they suggest impressive
buildings, stock-scrollers and artistic cafeterias are the new fabric of Xavier.
What I will remember
when I leave here is not the buildings. It's not the taste of cafeteria spaghetti. But what made Xavier the best experience of my life was the strong community
among fellow students and among faculty members, specifically in my major.
Even at historic campuses buildings and cafeterias come and go.
What made Xavier the best experience of my life was the strong community among fellow
students and faculty members, specifically in my major. Students, you need to carry on the legacy of 'the old Xavier.' Remember the feel and don't allow fancy buildings and unlimited food options (for at least until
midterms) to turn Xavier into another benevolent,
yet removed university.
Don't allow yourselves to become
a number in the Bursar's Office.
Faculty, I sure hope we, as students,
can count on you. I have heard times are difficult. Alas, I am not a professor.
I understand there are more names to memorize, papers to grade and academic advising to do. I get it.
But the little stuff makes a difference, and I know the personal attention I have received
from faculty has made all the difference. I just hope the enlarging and modernizing of Xavier doesn't change any of this.


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