The University of Mary Washington is known to outsiders as a small liberal arts school, but a recent move on campus makes it seem as if the administration wants to tweak how people perceive UMW.
With all of the changes happening on campus, UMW is on the fast track to becoming a more confined and lesser-known version of larger universities, such as James Madison University and the University of Virginia. There seems to be plans for a new building almost every year. Before the Convergence Center is finished, the Student Center will break ground right in the middle of campus.
In addition to these new buildings, that are slowly replacing every historic building on campus, UMW seems to be creating a stronger scientific and mathematic curriculum while slowly letting the current liberal arts program disappear from their attention.
All of these alterations and redesigns are being done in order to attract a broader range of students, especially those interested in math and science programs, but will it continue to attract the individualistic, liberal arts-oriented student body that we have now?
Many students come to UMW because it is a small, open-minded and aesthetically pleasing school. UMW has small classes that allow for close relationships with professors and other students, which is heightened by our close living quarters on the less than one-mile long campus.
UMW has the type of student body that holds a silent protest when talk of reallocation commences and fights to have banners taken down because they misrepresent the school. We do not have a football team or official Greek life, but students who come here understand that and relish the ways in which UMW is different from the typical college stereotype.
The students here are immersed in cultural studies and English, as well as math and science. We strive to excel in our liberal arts education and though it may not fatten UMW’s wallet, is the way the University is trying to attract students fair to our founded reputation and devoted students? UMW should focus on cultivating what current students want on their campus and for their classes instead of trying to replace us with a new brand of students in hopes of raking in higher alumni donations.