Even though in recent months USM has lost manpower and some serious cash, welcome events showed that the fun will go on.
Everyone at USM could take a lesson from Student Life. They may have had to work a little harder to make Welcome Week a success, but they set an example in hard times that the student experience should be at the center of the university’s mission.
From a movie on the roof to the Gorham Student Involvement Block Party, it seemed that there were many more events for students to attend this year than in the past that actively pushed students to get more involved in the community.
Portland Student Life planned something different, an expansion of what they’ve done in previous years with a week-long series of events. Husky Fest was a vibrant and impressive array of tables spreading across the green, featuring 55 student organizations, 25 departments and 30 community vendors. An estimated 1,000 students visited the event.
These efforts – and their success – show that the Student Life are engaging, approachable and welcoming to students. They survived the cuts, and they’re working harder than ever to deliver. These are the experiences that help to boost enrollment and retain students’ interest. While it is easy to point to a geographic handicap with Gorham, Portland and Lewiston so far from each other, the greater issue is that of the community and the students’ engagement and involvement at the university.
Students don’t usually see, nor is their experience really affected by the loss of a ‘vice provost’ or a reallocation, but they are directly reached by efforts like these that serve to make their experience at USM more engaging and worthwhile. The USM community should be reminded about what is important – rigorous education, the student experience, academic scholarship by faculty and service to the greater community.