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The language used to describe Texas State has to change

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TXST language illustration
If students attend Texas State with the mindset that it’s a second-rate university, they won’t feel the need to do as well in their classes. They’ll spend more time looking for areas where Texas State comes up short instead of keeping an open mind.
Illustration by Kennedy Swift

Texas State gets a bad rap. Often deemed a “party school”, Bobcats are associated with binge drinking and late night ragers. Alongside this, the university is commonly referred to as a second-choice university after other schools turn applicants down. This reputation portrays Bobcats as crazier and less intelligent than other Texas college students.

If students attend Texas State with the mindset that it’s a second-rate university, they won’t feel the need to do as well in their classes. They’ll spend more time looking for areas where Texas State comes up short instead of keeping an open mind. Soon, their school lives up to the bad reputation; it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

To combat this, the rhetoric used to describe Texas State needs to change for the better.

“Party schools” are more than the parties students throw. Students are accomplishing much more here than this epithet suggests. Texas State is home to over 400 student organizations. Every spring, nearly 4,500 students take part in Bobcat Build, a community clean-up project that’s the second largest of its kind in the state. An event known as the Undergraduate Research Conference lets undergrads present their own research to scholars and academics, and a similar event exists for grad students. Both are held annually on campus.

Instead of immediately thinking of Texas State as a party school, try thinking about the organizations, the volunteer opportunities and the research being done by students first. Consider the many unique degree programs or the acclaimed professors before looking to the recreation some students take part in.

Perhaps much of this reputation comes from the recent controversy surrounding Greek life. As The Star reported in February, Texas State cracked down on Greek Life activity following the death of Matthew Ellis in November 2017. According to the Dean of Students – Fraternity and Sorority Life office, currently, only 7-8 percent of students are involved in Greek life, amounting to roughly 3,000 out of 38,000 Bobcats. In addition, Greek organizations spend time doing much more than throwing stereotypical college parties.

In 2016, the Houston Chronicle ranked the University of Texas at Austin as the No. 1 party school in Texas. UT has one of the best reputations in the nation, and the sentiment this ranking echoes doesn’t seem to take away from that. Why can’t the same be said for Texas State?

This is where the “second choice” idea comes in. Due to its high acceptance rate, and the fact that many applicants apply to Texas State as a backup, the school has garnered a reputation for instantly being considered the second choice before all else. But there’s a difference between being an applicant’s second choice and being considered everyone’s second choice. The latter trivializes all the work that Texas State does to make itself a better institution by comparing it to more popular schools in the state.

It’s been said many times, but the college experience comes down to the student. Texas State offers myriad resources for students to grow, change and experience new things. If students enroll with a negative opinion of the university, they’ll spend all their time looking for reasons to justify that view instead of seeing all the ways their school excels. Changing the reputation begins with changing the rhetoric.

– Maxim Foster is an English sophomore

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