What makes a school – well, a school

Bruno Beidacki.

Bruno Beidacki

Every time I meet someone new at Kent State, they ask me: “Why did you leave the warmth of Brazil to come to school in Ohio?”

While I wonder that myself on cold, snowy mornings, the answer is always the same: College in Brazil meant driving to class, sitting in a lecture hall and then driving back home. On the other hand, American universities provide a world of opportunities, activities and experiences for their students.

In other words, I came to the United States to study because I wanted a school that offered me stuff to do. And that’s the thought process of many high school graduates around the country. The academic quality of a program is the number one reason to attend a school, of course. However, there’s a reason students are drawn to big sports schools.

An academic experience transcends going to class and absorbing as much as you can from a professor. It’s about the speakers you get to listen to, the networking events you take part in and, yes, even the activities that entertain you.

That’s why investing part of our tuition money in subsidizing our athletics department, concerts and a recreational center is not a waste of funds. For those of you who are still skeptical, I pose a question: Being honest to yourself, would you ever attend a university if they did not offer any sports or entertainment events?

The real concern is not if we should invest in those departments, but whether the investments are being made wisely and purposefully. We should not be asking the university not to spend our money on sports and performers, but we can and will show our concerns if we think those in charge of making these decisions are not listening to the students.

For example: Our football team has consistently underperformed for the last several years. The hiring of a new head coach and restructuring of the rest of the coaching staff is a step in the right direction, but is it enough?

The same can be asked about the recent artists brought to Kent by the Undergraduate Student Government recently. Students were vocal about their dissatisfaction with the return of Rae Sremmurd and the constant prioritizing of hip-hop artists over musicians of other genres. In the USG’s defense, however, is the fact that these concerts virtually sold out, while country and pop performers did not have the same turnout.

While college is extremely expensive, the amount spent on entertainment and athletics is only a very small percentage of our total tuition. Furthermore, if we didn’t have certain events offered in the area, we would have to search for entertainment in cities like Cleveland and Akron, which would mean even more money spent.

It’s obvious that the choices of funding will never please every student. If the university is listening to the students, though, to make their decisions, we will all be better off.

Until then, I can keep dreaming of seeing Khalid perform at Kent State. (You hear that, USG?)

 Bruno Beidacki is the opinion editor. Contact him at [email protected].