Our community, Miami University, is undoubtedly a growing institution. This year we had a 10.7 percent increase in the number of first-year students. Not only that, we have a growing population of different ethnic groups from different backgrounds. According to admission statistics, the percentage of the undergraduate population that was ethnically diverse in 2007 was 9.1 percent and in 2009 it was 9.8 percent. The difference may seem small, but if you consider that Miami had 1,680 ethnically diverse students just seven years ago, it’s a big change. Moreover, there are more out-of-state students than there were several years ago.
That means there is a lot more cash coming into the school. And what does the university choose to do with it? It decides to spend funds on installing swipe access in all of the residence halls on campus and it recently built a very luxurious business school. The school is also suffering from high administrative costs. Our red brick buildings are not exactly eco-friendly in terms of maintenance costs and spatial efficiency. Studies done by the Texas Energy Partnership in 2007 say that the average annual energy use of educational buildings in Ohio is approximately 88 kBtu per square foot (thermal units). The Psychology Building uses 113.6 kBtu/sq. ft. and King Library uses 125 kBtu/sq. ft.
There are additional things that need to be considered. There are not nearly enough parking spaces for students and the parking spaces left over are several minutes away from class. This institution is going through major changes since its bicentennial. Only the future can tell whether these developments will be positive for the overall growth of the school. However, the process by which these decisions are made is somewhat problematic.
It is true the administrators are professionals in educating and guiding us. But that does not mean each individual student does not have the freedom of will to choose what kind of environment they want to be in and pass on to future incoming students.
So with all this in mind, school authorities and administrators should heed to the needs of students. Instead of making internal decisions, there should be consultations with student representatives or the student body. Incorporating student ideas into new buildings and researching statistics about the student population through surveys could be a start. This might be a long process, but the end result could be much better in terms of efficient use of resources and value to the students.
Miami is a liberal arts school and the school values and promises a quality educational environment to all students. The school should remember students could exist without the school, but the school will cease to exist without the support of the student population.