The College of William and Mary must work to expand our Tribe. I came to college an innocent 18-year-old, practically oblivious to the lifestyles of those outside of my cozy high school atmosphere. I think it’s safe to assume that most freshmen come in with a similar mindset, mostly unaware of what else there is in the world.
I’m now a not-so-innocent 19-year-old, and I am still surprised by how much I learn from other people and the lives they lead. The hallmate from southern California, the roommate from Minnesota, that one guy in the Commons Dining Hall with the San Francisco jacket — they all bring a unique and different perspective to the College.
From my initial narrow examination, it seemed as if the College really had expanded my horizons. However, I was in for a surprise when I looked at a report from the Chronicle of Higher Education which laid out from where the class of 2015 hailed, marking the number of members of the Tribe from each state.
For all that I thought I had learned from people not from Northern Virginia, it’s surprising to see the distribution. I thought this campus was splitting at the seams with out-of-staters and kids from landscapes unfamiliar to me. Not so, apparently.
According to the map, I have a decent grasp on the Northeast, Texas and Illinois, oddly enough. However, I know nothing about the Northwest, nor Wisconsin or Louisiana. This is an absolute travesty needing an immediate fix.
The Tribe is a mix of people from everywhere and from all different walks of life — or so the pamphlet says. In reality, our Tribe is incomplete. Nevada has no representation. Hawaii and North Dakota face a similar plight.
I’m looking at you, Office of Undergraduate Admission. Let’s get some people from these other areas; they need to know what they’re missing. These unaware students are taking their talents to places like Stanford University and the University of Southern California. They are fine schools, but the last time I checked, they don’t have a Tribe, a family like we have. Until the College can reach out and recruit students proudly representing every state, the Tribe isn’t complete.
This reads a lot like election results, and for all intents and purposes, that’s exactly what these numbers show. Where a college freshman attends school affects not only the individual’s immediate future, but also the future of the next generation.
The College’s budget largely comes from tuition, and as we Virginians are reminded by our friends from across the state border, out-of-state tuition is twice as high. The decision to attend the College despite the steep bill accomplishes two things. First, the money helps the school expand and improve so that the quality of education increases. Second, the out-of-state-students themselves provide valuable variety with which the student body can expand its horizon.
We need you, out-of-staters. You make us better, just as we improve your world view. You make the Tribe echo across Times Square and down Hollywood Avenue. This world could use a lot more Tribe pride.
The College must expand the Tribe, not just for the betterment of the school economically and socially, but because the Tribe owes it to the world. What the Tribe has built in the swamps of Williamsburg is a place of cooperation and acceptance, or at least understanding, of other cultures.
As we enter into a globalized world, we are the best equipped to become successful because of the family-like atmosphere Zable Stadium holds, the sisterhood sorority court provides and the scholarly teamwork Earl Gregg Swem Library exemplifies.
Imagine if Zable wasn’t just the stadium of the Tribe, but the arena of the world. That sorority court wasn’t just sorority houses, but the world-wide home of sisters. That Swem didn’t just house 45-cent hot chocolate and tirelessly resilient students, but world citizens who all burn their tongues.
We always claim to be one Tribe, one family. Let’s make it bigger, let’s make it better.