This past year has seen a great deal of change for Wittenberg. We exit the 2015-2016 academic year with an interim provost, an interim president and an interim chair of the board of directors, at the same time that the university is in the midst of the re-accreditation process and reviews of Title IX compliance.
To say the least, there’s a lot on the university’s plate.
As a student, it can be frustrating to watch the institution you’ve given four years to gather such a list of problems and trials. I came to Wittenberg looking for the stability necessary to devote myself to education. However, the institution seems anything but. To the casual viewer, Wittenberg seems insecure, in a state of fluctuation, in need of guidance when it needs to be the guiding light for so many others.
And yet, I owe my education to Wittenberg. The classes with my incredible professors, my extracurricular involvement and the work experience that I have gained here has helped me grow, professionally and intellectually. After four years, I have learned to critically analyze my world and to think in innovative ways. I recently told my mother “It’s like I’ve learned a new language. I never knew people could even think in this way.” Through the opportunities provided here, I’ve traveled to Europe, worked for NPR and wrote my senior thesis about “The Lord of the Rings.”
And I owe that to Wittenberg.
As I’m getting ready to graduate, this leaves me with an interesting dichotomy of emotions. While I could never be where I am today without the support of the institution, I can’t overlook the fact that Wittenberg has some promises it needs to make good on, both to students and to faculty and staff.
I have full confidence that Wittenberg will be able to develop solutions to its problems. Not next year, maybe not in five years, but it will happen. There are too many people who, like myself, care about the community this institution has created. And now is the moment for crucial decisions. Because Wittenberg isn’t just the students. It isn’t just the administration. It isn’t just the faculty.
It’s all of those people, who all have our own individual investments in this community.
I do not regret my Wittenberg education. I have become a better person and a better thinker in the past four years, and no budget crisis can take that away from me. I fully believe in the mission of Wittenberg, and I’m optimistic for the university’s future. But I do think that in order to ensure others get the same opportunity, we have to protect what I have received. Wittenberg has become my home, and in the future, I want it to become that for others, too.