Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Take As Much As You Please, But Give Back What You Take!

College is a very giving process. Although it *feels* like we're the one's doing all the giving (especially with those high tuition rates, sheash!), in reality, our schools and our government is actually the one being the most generous.

Every semester you attend college, the government is actually providing the school with a lot of that money. In fact, the government supplies millions of dollars a year. According to a statistic I quickly looked up just now, ASU can receive as much as $104 million per academic year from the state alone. To put this in perspective, with approximately 100,000+ students attending ASU state-wide, that is about $500 per semester per student.

That may not sound like a lot when you are paying $4,000 per semester, but you also have to consider how many federal grants, scholarships, loans, and other federal aid goes out every year to students. All-in-all, I would wager a good deal of money that any student picked at random was receiving government aid in one or more of these forms; I know I am!

Furthermore, just consider how much all your teachers put into their classes. Certainly there is always one or two professors that have probably been doing this for a few too many years, by which I mean they just honestly don't give a shit, but even a lot of the worst teachers still try really hard to give you a good education. I would say with a great deal of certainty that at least 90% of the teachers I have had since starting college 3+ years ago have all been very enthusiastic to help my classmates and me understand their subjects.

Where am I getting at with all this?

Well, I'm just saying, given that so much effort has gone in to helping us get where we need/want to be, shouldn't we do the right thing by giving back a little? I think that every student who graduates from any college or university should feel some personal obligation to either volunteer, teach, or at least donate to their school to show their appreciation. Every graduate who has found their niche and made it big should try to give back to the society that gave them so much so that other people might be happy and successful too someday. And most importantly, everyone who has the propensity to do so ought to create new jobs with fair wages and a strong commitment to being a community and not just a business. As recipients of greater knowledge, we should find ourselves to have a greater responsibility to enrich the lives of everyone around us and not to further just our own means. We should freely give that knowledge that we worked so hard to obtain to those who have not yet tried to obtain it so that they may be enlightened and inspired to pursue greater things. It is time to own up to the responsibility of being in the top percentile of society.

It's time to make the world a better place to live!


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Arizona State University: The New American Univerisity

Arizona State University has been a unique college since I have known. ASU refers to itself as "The New American University." But what does this actual mean?

As one of the leaders in college innovation, ASU constantly searches for new ways to improve its education. While it makes some poor decisions, especially when it comes to budget--like cutting teachers instead of downsizing administration--ASU has adopted some attitudes that most universities wouldn't dream of. One of these is that ASU has a huge acceptance rate. In fact, I don't know anybody who has actually been turned away! But is this a good thing?

With four campuses and 70,000 students on the main campus alone, ASU is easily one of the nation's largest schools. However, with open doors and filled-up seats, can ASU really hope to sustain such expansion?

One major problem that arises is campus housing. As a requirement, all Freshmen must live on campus unless given a special pardon. With increasing numbers in each of the Freshmen classes, this is only one of the many problems which may create some difficulty. And what about land? After a while, ASU will run out of room to expand into.

Another problem is that as the enrollment increases, there is a growing demand for new technology. As it is, on a busy day, it can be very difficult to find a computer. And due to a strict budget, updates can only come so fast. So computers are left slow, and as they are loaded up with new technology and new programs, they seem to get slower and slower.

This isn't necessarily all-bad, though. There are a lot of good aspects of being in such a rapidly expanding campus. One of those aspects is that you get a huge diversity of cultures. I'm not sure if other campuses tend to have a lot of students from so many parts of the world, but I am confident that on any given day, I can meet 3 different people from 3 different countries. In my opinion, this adds much-needed diversity that helps to improve people's experiences and to learn about other cultures. It also gives me more hope for Arizona. With more educated and skilled workers, Arizona is bound to make up for its economic failures in the past with growing markets, so long as AZ can retain them.

I don't necessarily know what it means to be a New American University, but from my experience, whatever that means is working.