by Alicia Bugden / Staff Writer
I believe that Salem State students value diversity. The campus is always actively embracing the value of difference. During my time at SSU, I have seen countless displays of cultural expression. One day while walking out of the library, I saw the entire court yard strung with dresses and clothing from different countries. The diversity and multicultural affairs office works hard to ensure diversity is implemented in all aspects of institutional planning at SSU.
The emphasis on diversity creates a welcoming and accepting environment on campus. The attitudes and behaviors of most students are positive and accepting. At my freshman orientation, I specifically remember my group leader telling me, “You are going to see some very different people on campus. I’m sure you’ll see people dancing to themselves in the grass. You’ll get used to it. That’s just Salem State. There’s nothing wrong with it.”
During my last three years here, I’ve come across many different people. People from all walks of life. Although I’m sure this is not always true, I personally have never observed any forms of racism, prejudice or bullying on campus.
The majority of SSU students are commuters. Many people come here because of the price, convenience and respected education. There are a lot of institutional characteristics that accommodate students who commute to campus, like the new parking garage. This has been a huge improvement for parking, where students no longer have to stress about circling for a parking spot and being late for class.
According to “The Structure of Schooling, Readings in the Sociology of Education” by Richard Arum, “the best predictor of success is whether there is a good fit between a given student’s resources and agendas, and the structure of the university.”
SSU offers many resources to help students succeed academically. There are many clubs available for students to join in order to up their social mobility. One solution SSU should make in order to help students succeed is to make these resources more accessible and known to commuter students.
About 50% of students at SSU are commuters. Many of these students commute because they have full-time jobs, children or other obligations. I have seen many academically gifted students struggle from being a commuter.
I think the university should make more of an effort to encourage commuter students to be more involved on campus. Personally, as a commuter, I have always felt like an outsider. I go to class, do my work, and go home. With college coming to an end soon, I truly wish I would have taken more advantage of all the campus has to offer.