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Tough love for a good school

Web Editor Stephen Green explains why he chose SHSU

Web Editor

Published: Thursday, February 20, 2014

Updated: Thursday, February 20, 2014 01:02

When I was in the eighth grade we were all called into the library to start picking out what classes we would take in high school. I only had seven classes, so I had to pick another extracurricular. Because my friends were in it, I decided to take this “blow-off” journalism class.

That class turned into my career goal, but I didn’t really know where to go after high school. It came down to only one choice: Sam Houston State University.

If you’ve read my other columns you may laugh at my humor at the university’s expense and notice that I don’t agree with what the school does. I actually like SHSU, believe it or not. There are many reasons why this school’s was my only college application.

For starters, the mass communication program lends itself to students who work hard and do it early. It’s a hands-on program from practically the first day. There are opportunities at every media outlet to get involved. Meagan Ellsworth and Jessica Priest, then Editor-in-Chief and News Editor, gave me a job as a contributing reporter before I ever stepped into the classroom.

Professors across campus, for the most part, seem to be willing to talk to students one-on-one after class more so than I’ve seen at other schools. I think that has something to do with the family atmosphere here that makes it easy to approach relatively anyone and have a meaningful conversation.

It’s the kind of conversations like the one between a tatted up student clutching a skateboard and sporting an earring sitting on a wall near the College of Humanities and Social Sciences building talking to an older, grandfatherly type student that I saw this morning. Those conversations clearly happen on campuses everywhere, but I think there’s a general feeling of diversity.

SHSU is also a hidden gem in terms of our academics. Our education and criminal justice programs are the obvious standouts that seem to go unheard of in high schools when it’s such a missed opportunity for future teachers and law enforcement officials. They opt for schools like Texas A&M and the University of Texas at Austin because those are the Texas schools that many - including those from my high school – were expected to go to for a good education. If you went anywhere else you were looked down on as getting a worse education. That’s so not the case.

Unlike my fellow high school graduates at other, “better” universities, I won’t graduate with nearly as much debt. SHSU is a comparably affordable college to attend despite the seemingly constant tuition and fee increases – ubiquitous college affordability is for a different column. Even the online programs are affordable, which is difficult to say when so many others are criticized for being so steep.

When I graduate in May, I don’t want the university officials to get the feeling that my four years of criticism comes from a place of malice or frivolity. Like any good organization adviser will do, students need to get their ass kicked every once in a while to get them back on track and focused. That’s what I’m trying to do when I find things that I think need changed for students down the road. I want to at least try to leave the school I love better than I found it.

I encourage everyone else to do so as well. This doesn’t necessarily call for widespread protests or formal complaints. It’s the little things like picking up trash out of the fountain, giving helpful feedback when administrators host town halls or going to Student Government Association meetings.

It’s participating in community service events like Bearkat All Paws In, going to school sponsored events and cheering on all of our sports teams – not just football whenever they start showing success. School spirit isn’t conditional.

When May comes and I begin my career as a working professional, I will hold this university and the people who work here as the singular fundamental aide in any success that will follow. The university’s motto – the measure of a life is its service – starts now, while we have positive change within reach.

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