Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Op-Ed: Where's The Love For Flo?

by Desese Ursery

School pride on the Florissant Valley campus is abysmal at best. On a scale of 1 to 10, Flo Valley is at a 4, a 5 at best. There are only a handful of students who truly cherish and represent their school to the fullest. For college students, not showing pride in the school that they attend is not only devastating for the college, but it can be detrimental to the student as well. 
What is school pride exactly and why is it so important?
            School pride is when a student represents his or her school proudly. It means to buy into the overall mission of that school and in doing so renewing ones commitment to a higher education. This commitment can in turn act as a deterrent to negative behavior, such as dropping out of school. School pride is important because it gives the student a sense of belonging to something greater than themselves. It promotes togetherness and comradery as well. School pride is also important because it gives the student a chance to branch out and meet new people. Besides that, school pride is advantageous to create an environment of positive learning for both the students and teachers. Having a positive learning environment is one of many things that make going to school so exciting.
            School pride can be shown in a variety of ways: participation in spirit and club activities, wearing school colors and paraphernalia, pep rallies and representing through athletics.
            On the Florissant Valley campus there are a number of clubs for all types and personalities. There is no reason for a student not to maximize his or her opportunity. Participation in school clubs and other school activities can bolster a students’ transcript and resume. There seems to be a disassociation with the students at Florissant Valley and the school itself. More and more students entering Flo Valley are deficient of school unity or pride and that seems to be a generational problem.
“Students are embarrassed to show pride in their school. It is whatever the so-called ‘cool kids’ deem to be cool. If my friend says that he doesn’t like this school, then I am not going like it either, just because my friend said so. It is a lack of individualism between the students that lends itself to this type of mentality,” said Bradley Rayford, vice president of the Student Government Association (SGA). “School pride is important because you chose to come to Flo. And since you chose to come here you, you might as well show some sense of pride. You have to pay for it.”
Rjeem V. Pearson, president of the Student Government Association says, “Students of this generation have the mentality of if it doesn’t concern me; I’m not interested in it.”
            Most students on the Florissant Valley campus are reluctant to participate in school activities or to show school pride because they are so caught up in what other people think. “I notice a lot of times from people that attend Flo Valley or STLCC, they bad talk it. Even coming from high school…a lot of people had a stigmatism about going to Flo. Flo Valley is a going to be a bad school. Flo Valley is this, Flo Valley is that. Flo Valley is going to be just like going to high school again. I feel like that’s a problem too because when people do a lot of bad talking about Flo they discourage future or potential students from attending and that damages the community and environment of our school,” said Rayford. “They are also ashamed to admit that they go to Flo Valley or any community college because they feel that they are not good enough to attend a 4-year university or college.”
            Some students are not even motivated to maintain a passing grade, let alone participate in activities that would promote school pride or unity. They really don’t care one way or another about school pride or unity. Others are too busy.
“Florissant Valley can be defined as a ‘commuter college.’ Students from across the region attend class here. They drive and drive and drive and have little time to get involved in school pride,” said Professor Unger, science professor and program coordinator for Civil Engineering and Construction and Surveying Technology Programs. “It is a problem that may never be fixed. It is hard to be involved in school pride activities when you are working two jobs and raising a family on top of attending school. The students’ heart is there but there is no time,” Unger added.
            The onus of the lack of school pride falls solely on the shoulders of the student. The administrators sponsor student based events, while flyers and information are passed out and plastered all over campus.  The administrators give the students the information, but it is up to the students to use that information. Students have to step outside of their comfort zone and be proactive in capturing the full experience of college life. Students have to be somewhat self-motivating and want to take advantage of the opportunities afforded them.  
“The lack of school pride at Florissant Valley is because people don’t really know too much about our school’s history. Most people don’t even know when our school was founded. If students were more knowledgeable about the tradition and the history here then students would probably value the pride of Florissant Valley more,” said Pearson. “Students can be more knowledgeable of their school by becoming more aware of the school itself. Once you know the history behind something you have more value for it because you know where it came from.” The SGA does a good job with having events for the students, but it will take more commitment from the students to inform other students about campus-based events. “As a student it is hard to relate to an administrator because you see them as a teacher, but when you see another student doing something you value it more because when students see other students doing something they inquire about it and want to know what’s going on,” said Pearson.
The lack of school pride is troublesome on all levels. Although it won’t lead to serious deviant behavior, it can and will have adverse effects on the school and its students. The lack of school pride is like an infestation of termites destroying a building from the inside out. It totally undermines the integrity of the institution from top to bottom. Once it begins to permeate through the system it disrupts the whole integrity of the system.

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