When you hear University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, what word comes to mind? On tours and in presentations, we hear clever phrases of distinction like the four T’s (trees, tunnels, toilets, and teachers) and complicated terms of academia like interdisciplinary. While those words all have merit and certainly contribute to the whole of GB, when we’re not trying to sell ourselves, what words accurately describe what it means to actually live and thrive here? It’s a challenge to sum up such a large part of your life in a single word, but that is the challenge I posed to several UWGB students this week.
A welcome term to all who work to improve the image of our university, Jonathan Eckelberg said “innovative” was his word of choice. He said “we are always looking for ways to better our campus….always willing to try new things in order to better the university. The students’ voices often have a great impact on decisions made by the university. I feel like I am a truly valued member of this community.”
Jonathan highlighted not only the advances being made in our community, but the community itself, and the importance of the student voice being heard. This feeling of community is certainly felt by more than just Jonathan, as several students’ word was “community” itself. These students defined community as knowing and working with a wide variety of people, access to great resources, and “learning just as much from your surroundings as you do in the classroom, if not more”, as stated by Junior Communications Katie Phillips.
“Opportunity” was also a word that came up quite a bit this week, a word every student likes to hear when talking about their education. Students mentioned several different types of opportunities, including jobs, internships, networking, the arts, athletics, and, of course, social. Junior History major and student athlete Kelly Mischler also states that “most professors will know your name…vs. being just a number”, a privilege lost to most public university students.
One of my favorite responses to this challenge was made by Senior Katelyn Santy, whose word of choice was “character”. “Even though it’s a young campus”, she continued, “it’s amazing to see how people in this community [there’s that word again] saw the need for a university here. They built it up brick by brick to serve students…” One thing I personally have heard time and time again, and discovered to be true myself, is that no matter how long you’ve been at GB, you continue to discover new facets of this campus you didn’t even know existed, each contributing to the unique flavor and character of this campus.
Other great words I heard this week include reliable, memories, comfortable, and spoiled, but the word that stuck with me most, and the one that is hardest to demonstrate, is home. A word that is deceptively simple, impossible to simulate, and vitally important to any campus. University of Wisconsin – Green Bay is home.