Kicking Apathy’s Ass

We are happy, as usual, to see the College ranking highly in U.S. News & World Report and Barron’s Profile of American Colleges. It’s a welcome change from most of the College’s 150-year history.

From its humble beginnings in 1855, the College has been a gloss-over, a small blip on the national educational radar noticed mostly by New Jersey natives seeking training as teachers. But slowly, since the 1966 passage of the state’s Higher Education Act allowing the school to expand its curriculum into fields other than education, the College has established itself as a well-rounded institution and has started to attract a broader cross section of students.

But it is really in the last decade that the College (be it the ‘Trenton State’ or the ‘of New Jersey’ variety) has started standing its ground among colleges across the country.

Since 2005, we have been included among the 75 ‘Most Competitive’ schools in the country by Barron’s Profiles of American Colleges. For the 2007 rankings, the College was among five public schools included on the list.

More impressive, for the fifteenth consecutive year the College was ranked among the top master’s degree schools in the northern region in U.S. News & World Report. We ranked fifth, the highest public school on the list of 83 institutions.

In short, we’ve gotten a lot of ink.

But there was one area in our U.S. News & World Report profile where the College seemed to be at a noticeable deficit. Among our peers in the top five, each reported 80 percent or more of their students staying on campus on the weekends. At the College, we only manage to retain 65 percent.

We at The Signal can’t help but feel this to be an accurate reflection of what is typically perceived as an inactive and apathetic student body in terms of their extracurricular involvement.

In terms of academics, our standing is impossible to impugn. According to statistics compiled last November by the office of Institutional Research and Assessment, the average SAT score of the incoming freshman class has risen from 1186 to over 1300 since 1996. Likewise, the average high school ranking has risen from the top 15 percent to the top 10 percent.

It is clear that our students are capable of remarkable achievement, yet it seems so few are willing to get involved outside of the classroom.

The College has almost 200 registered organizations looking for new members; they run the gamut from All College Theatre to the Jewish Student Union to the History Club, to the College Democrats and Republicans – we even have a Manhunt club.

There are 14 Greek organizations that you could pledge and an abundance of honor societies hosting events.

On any given day there are a handful of speakers, musicians, comedians, debates, film screenings, sporting events, readings and other activities taking place across campus. So get off the computer, get away from the TV and out of your dorm room.

The College boasts a small student to faculty ratio (13:1). Get to know your professors. You will more often than not see their office doors open in the afternoons, and they will likely welcome the distraction from grading endless papers and exams.

So take advantage of what’s being offered to you. High rankings and press prestige mean nothing unless you have a community willing to back it up. You are that community.

You are the College.