College of Business Student Responds to ‘Challenge’

As a future graduate of the College of Business at Western Carolina University, I find myself caught in the midst of Mr. Kissmann’s challenge to “get active.” Though I do not completely agree with his argument, I have found that there is a strange rash of apathy that circulates in classes throughout the Colleges. Mr. Kissmann professes that the cure-all salve for this problem is for professors and students to power their minds with experience from outside of the classroom. This is an outsourcing of education regarding hands-on experience.

Perhaps Mr. Kissmann would prefer that the advertisements mention on campus activities instead of praising awards for technological advances received in 1998. Would a line about how students are able to join any number of over 150 different organizations that are funded by their tuition work to better encourage a high school graduate to apply? Students like Mr. Kissmann and myself worked together in creating most of these organizations. These students were not content with sitting in their rooms and watching cartoons or playing video games between classes.

There is a darker side to the numerous organizations that exist at Western Carolina University. Few can claim active memberships greater than twenty. This is one effect of the apathy on campus. If each organization did have at least twenty members, and no memberships overlapped between organizations, that would leave over thirty percent of the students not participating in any organization.

Understand that the aforementioned equation is an overestimate of the current situation. Most organizations have an active membership of ten to fifteen students, and of those ten to fifteen, about seven belong to at least two organizations. (For example, I am an active member of six organizations.) That would increase the percentage of students that are not actively members to between fifty and seventy percent. That leaves over twenty-five hundred students not participating in student organizations.

How does this information relate to Mr. Kissmann’s challenge? Obviously students are not limited to participating in on campus organizations as their only means of social interaction and experience outside of the classroom. Students participate in many areas outside of the University. By living and working off campus, over half of the students gain the real world experience they need to balance their lives as students. Most of these students are able to continue to live comfortably after they graduate. Otherwise, they might find themselves experiencing the rude awakening that Mr. Kissmann had described.

The economy does appear to be on the edge of a recession. With this in mind, it will become more difficult for many graduates to find enterprises willing to hire and train new staff. This expedition may become nearly futile if a graduate does not have any relevant experience. I consider this to be the heart of Mr. Kissmann’s challenge. To gain meaningful experience before graduation is a key that you cannot afford to lose.

Gaining experience can be done in a multitude of ways. In particular, actively participating in various student organizations can show prospective employers that students have the care and dedication to volunteer time in community service. Essentially, it shows that students care about their learning environment.

Does this lack of involvement show that approximately half of the students do not care about the University they attend? Perhaps a look at the lack of support for University Athletics is an indication. How do the students treat the campus? We speed on roads and litter the ground as staff members attempt to protect and clean up after us every day. Is this the image that we, the student body, project to employers when they visit our campus?

-Michael McGlone

Data Sources: