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UIC, the U of I system’s socially awkward middle child

 By: Kenneth Vasser (kvasse2@uic.edu) 

 I often joke that UIC is the socially awkward sibling of the U of I system; Urban-Champaign is cool older brother, Springfield is the younger, yet intelligent sister, and UIC is the middle child that has special qualities, but at the same time do not.

UIC students prefer to study than to go out and explore the city. After 5p.m., our main campus resembles an old ghost town. On weekends not many students are left on campus except those that have to work in the morning. Most of all, there is a tremendous lack of school spirit. There is simply no esprit de corps,or enthusiasm, which surrounds around our mascot or University as a whole. Well, after 5 years of being at this beloved institution and seeing first hand how things have been systematically destroyed, I have seen this case time and time again. I would like it to change.

What leads me to my premise that the cause of the “social awkwardness” at UIC derives from some administrators, is the idea that every time there is a good event, organization, club or activity, which has been organized by students, administrators either take credit for it or do not fully consider the suggestion.

How can you help students if you are not hearing them completely out?

Why is other student interest low you ask? It’s simply, students have minimal say, which equates to less student pride.

Other Universities have more student input and less of an administrative hold on student creativity for the increase in the University’s social climate.

UIC is socially awkward because no one seems to really listen to the students. If you let students feel like they have a say or a part in the University, that they have chosen to call home for the next four to six years, then maybe things could be different. We have a Undergraduate Student Government, but what have they really done to improve our experience here at UIC?

We need our Student Government to be more present and active with student concerns.

Maybe, have an option for student to submit proposals minus the bureaucracy to let campus pride flourish from student ideas. Ideas for students and by students–that’s it and that’s all.

I was asked one time, “Why don’t more students come to Black History Month events?” Well the answer is this; most of the events are lectures. As students we sit in lectures for the majority of the day. So, if I spend most of my days sitting lectures, why would I come to another lecture in my free time? As a student we want to relax, dance, eat, enjoy life outside of four- walls and not go to a “Spark in the Park” concert in the middle of the week.

Many students, including myself, enjoy this great institution.There are great opportunities, we cannot help but notice, that separate us from other institutions, but there is also a lack thereof when is comes down to school spirit that also separates us, which diminishes the pride that is billowing below the surface.

Why should students have to wait for a lot of administrative approval to improve social life?

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4 Comments

  1. Real Deal says:

    And yet you propose no solutions besides save one that is vague and half baked. You ask a lot of questions and yet provide no answers.

    • Kenneth says:

      Thanks for reading the article! I actually did which is to do away with all the administration in student life that was the main point of the writing. Also after editing I think think the solutions were a little, diluted, but mainly do away with all the bureaucracies, administration and faculty and staff planning for student events and just let students be free and take ownership of the campus!

  2. What solutions do you have, Real Deal?

  3. Ken Thomas, Student Trustee says:

    Your argument in this opinion piece is quite circular. Your initial premise goes completely unqualified. How is UIC the socially awkward middle child? In order to qualify that premise, you would have to talk about the other schools which you don’t.

    Furthermore, you blame the UIC administration for a bureaucratic system which is the cause of this problem of lack of spirit. You even go as far to say that students don’t want to go to Spark in the Park in the middle of the week. (Although, I think at least seven or eight thousand students would disagree without you.) You broadly define administrators as if to blame them all. You wantonly question even the student government as to lay blame on them for the lack of spirit. The fact of the matter is it is incumbent on the students to address these problems. That doesn’t mean just one student or even just one student group. It means all of us together. But divisiveness and ad hoc solutions are not the answer.

    As a member of student government, allow me to just tick off a few things we have done over the last few years. We have lobbied in Washington in support of PELL Grants, the DREAM Act, and reduced student loan interest rates. We have organized a group larger than UIUC to lobby Springfield in support of MAP Grants and funding for UIC. Do you like the IDEA Commons? It is the result of the dedicated partnership of the library with the student government. Seeing as I believe the biggest student concern is the costs of education and being able to pay tuition, I am certain student government has been receptive.

    Ken Thomas
    Student Member of the Board of Trustees

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