The numbers are in and enrollment at Emporia State is down. There’s been a lot of hype lately about just how great an institution ESU is. We have a fancy new marketing campaign, but still, the numbers don’t lie.
So the question is – what’s wrong with ESU? Nothing. We are a great institution and our students do great things and become great people.
But still, we are a social pariah in the eyes of many students across the state. Why? If we have such a stellar set of academic programs, among other appealing amenities, why did we loose nearly 300 students this semester?
The administration chooses to pin the blame on a poor marketing strategy over the last decade, America’s ailing economy and dwindling rural populations. While these all seem like legitimate explanations, we seem to have overlooked an important factor – the atmosphere of our town.
The Bulletin firmly believes that while our university, like every other university in the nation, could use some tweaking in some aspects, ESU is a top-notch campus and our students are more than exceptional. We want to be here because we can get the quality education that we deserve at a price that we can, for the most part, afford. Students know ESU has more to offer than an outrageous tuition price that only buys prestige, not an education.
But while our students receive a fiscally responsible education, we still sacrifice an important factor in every college student’s experience.
Let’s face it. We know why KU’s enrollment is enrollment is considerably higher than ESU’s. Lawrence is an exciting place to be. It offers nightclubs and other exciting party scenes. The social culture in Lawrence is thriving – it makes you feel alive. The same is true for Manhattan.
But yes. ESU is unique because we are a tight-knit community of intellectuals. We like that we don’t have to share our campus with 30,000 other students, but we are also craving something more than movie nights at the Granada or the occasional “rap” concert on campus. Even our bars have little or no appeal to college age students.
The most social interaction you can get on a Friday night in Emporia consists of getting drunk at a house party and tipping cows, and for some students, they want nothing more. But what about those students who need something more than standing around playing beer pong?
The Emporia community is bland, and maybe that’s the way its residents want it to be. But our town also owes a lot our university. ESU is the lifeblood of Emporia, without it, Emporia would flounder. Emporia needs the university and the university needs the community.
If we want to boost enrollment, it’s going to take more than just a shiny marketing campaign. Billboards and television ads can only do so much. It’s up to the Emporia community to aid ESU in reversing this trend of a declining student population.
We aren’t asking Emporia to compromise its family-oriented values, we’re just asking you to help put the excitement back into our student’s lives. Give us something more than cowboy bars. Give us more shopping options. Give us more choices than Mexican and Chinese food restaurants or sandwich shops.
Let’s look at this drop in enrollment as a wake up call and take advantage of the opportunity to come together to make Emporia a progressive and exciting place to be – or forever be damned to obscurity.