It is no question that Wright State University has been experiencing some dark times in the past half decade.
If you don’t believe me, google “Wright State Financial Crisis” and count the number of uninterrupted pages filled with news stories about the struggles of Wright State.
Despite these challenges, we students persisted. Despite these challenges, the wall of the history of Wright State has continued to grow.
Now, in post-strike Wright State we must continue to move on. If we don’t, If nothing else happens at Wright State outside of the norm for the rest of 2019, the longest faculty strike in Ohio history will be all that we have to put on that wall this year.
We must move on.
Many have said that this is the wrong time, “we can’t make a move like this right after the strike”.
To them I say this is the perfect time to make this move.
The fact of the matter is that the strike is going to negatively affect our already struggling enrollment, and doing nothing is only going to exacerbate this issue. In the past the university has tried to do multiple things to attract and keep students.
Wright State has invested in research, in doing so we have become a Carnegie Classified research institute.
WSU has invested in entrepreneurship opportunities by partnering with the local community. WSU has tried investing in property, Double Bowler was developed to help expand the geographic footprint of the university.
Through it all, the investment that has been the most necessary has been most neglected, this is the investment into the student experience.
Look up guidebooks on how to pick a college to go to and you will see every time that the top two recommended considerations for prospective students is always academics and student life.
Out of 47 universities in the Ohio and Missouri Valley regions Wright State is the only one that doesn’t have a stand alone independent recreation facility.
This is a huge gap that will exist in student life consideration for prospective students. It more than likely helps contribute to the enrollment numbers that continue to decline, as well as retainment numbers that are dismal as well.
The good news is there’s hope, based on surveys conducted annually, there is a direct correlation between participation in the recreation and average GPA, graduation rates and semester to semester retainment.
Furthermore, student employees in campus recreation (which an independent rec facility will require more of) have a 100% graduation rate.
By building an independent rec facility we will open up spaces in the Student Union that will be available for amenities such as a sports bar so we can all come together and watch the basketball team as they are playing away games.
We will be able to add spaces for our Greek organizations which also boast higher than campus average GPAs, graduation and retention rates. 60,000 Square feet of open space will allow us to totally reinvent the student union to meet whatever needs students will have.
Lastly it’s important to mention that this recreation facility will be the most accessible and inclusive facility of its kind in the world. This can only help the recreation of the Wright State brand as we keep with our tradition of keeping accessibility and inclusivity as a forethought, not an afterthought.
The recent history of Wright State has been turbulent. It is time for students to decide to move forward. It’s time for students to look out for future students, to make Wright State a place that we can all be proud to have graduated from. It’s time for students to recreate Wright.