The Student News Site of Whitworth University

The Whitworthian

The Student News Site of Whitworth University

The Whitworthian

The Student News Site of Whitworth University

The Whitworthian

Whitworth is biting off more than it can chew

After witnessing its construction since my freshman year, the Robinson science building is finally in use. Annoyed that I had to walk around the construction site instead of through the previously innocuous parking lot to get to Core 150 from Baldwin-Jenkins, much wiser Whitworthians would tell me that construction is always a sign of progress and growth.

Now, Hixson Union Building (HUB) is the newest campus building to be renovated, the Back 40 is still underway, an exciting new Honors program is being piloted in the coming semester, a new recreation center will be available to students next year as well, and the Costa Rica campus is being marketed like the newest Apple product. Am I the only one who is wondering why this is all happening at once? Nevermind that I’m a senior who won’t get to try out the cool new additions to campus!

If you’re wondering where I’m going with this, my point is not to complain about graduating a little too soon; rather, I am wondering how Whitworth is able to juggle and effectively execute all these plans simultaneously. With a staff that is not growing exponentially, a tuition that predictably increases by a margin each year, and a push to recruit prospective students while encouraging existing Whitworthians to move to Costa Rica, the impression is that Whitworth University may be stretching itself out a little too thin. Growing up in a household where the saying always was, “If you’re going to do something, you better get it right the first time,” I can only ask if, indeed, all these fantastic projects are being given as much attention and proper investment as they deserve.

I’m sure the HUB and the recreation center, being constructed on shorter schedules than, say, the Honors program, are most likely to be successful projects. Since they require funding, construction, inspections, and staffing, these two additions to campus probably do not need much more consideration than is already being invested. However, as the Costa Rica campus is in its beginning stages, and the Honors program, which is only to be a pilot in the fall, is kick-started, it seems a bit premature to start a pilot of an Honors program that has only been in the works for two years. I worry that our faculty could become stretched thin themselves, taking away the availability of professors to all students – a unique and wonderful advantage of Whitworth that ensures the success of so many students on campus. As seen on other campuses with developed honors programs, there are graduate students and more faculty members available to give the required time and effort to the program. Again, the Honors program is a pilot; but shouldn’t even a pilot program be as thorough and well-prepared as it can be?

Then there is the Costa Rica campus. A beautiful location with unfathomable access to culture, resources, and potential networks, Whitworth’s extension campus is full of promise and possibilities. But is it really getting the attention and resources it deserves? I feel as though Whitworth students are being pulled in 20 different directions. Forgetting that conflicted students are considering post-graduation plans such as graduate schools and jobs, Whitworthians are now being pulled in several directions before they even apply to graduate. Should we stay on campus and partake in student leadership? Which internship should I accept? Should we live off-campus, which is cheaper?

But wait – if we move to Costa Rica, we get $500 credit in our student accounts. Will we graduate in time? Can we afford another $12,000 semester of tuition?

I hope you see my point. I don’t want to bring Whitworth down; I love this school. Its academics are excellent, the campus is beautiful, the people are second to none. But I don’t want to discredit my own opinions and say that these topics I bring up should not be considered. There is a great likelihood that I fail to see the bigger picture; most likely, administration has everything taken care of, and I am worrying over nothing. However, I, just like any Whitworthian, want my university to continue being the beautiful school of which I can be proud. I want the incoming class of freshmen to also lament over their first Core 150 exam, so I can laugh and say, “Oh, you have much to learn, young padawan.” I want those same incoming freshmen to also believe that Whitworth is wonderful because it offers excellence in every building, resource, faculty member and opportunity it provides.

Brown is a senior majoring in international business. Comments can be sent to [email protected].

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Whitworth is biting off more than it can chew