The DePauw experience or lack there of

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My sister was recently accepted into DePauw, and I am hesitant to support her decision to come here.

During her informal visit to the University a few weekends ago, she asked several students about their opinions and experiences at DePauw. The responses she received included mixed reviews, especially about DePauw’s social life. This is problematic because I have witnessed the University restricting Greek events, but not offering any other social substitutions. This left me wondering, if my sister attended DePauw would she have a positive experience?

On the DePauw website it says, “If you are looking for something to do on the weekends, there are a variety of campus activities for you!” However, neither CLCD nor Student Life have offered any events since the Spring Semester has started. In fact, I don’t know of any social opportunities provided by campus life this upcoming weekend other than the Indoor Track and Field meet (Here we go Tigers). Not providing an array of options does not align with what DePauw promotes on their website. In fact, when my sister visited the only social interaction she had with other DePauw students was supporting the women’s basketball team.

When my sister asked me about my DePauw experience, I couldn’t help but think about how the last few months and semesters in Greencastle have felt a little more restrictive, like I am living under the microscope of campus officials and administrators. Similarly, several upperclassmen have said they have enjoyed their time at DePauw, but their experience as juniors and seniors has been different from their freshmen and sophomore perspective. Students used phrases such as, ‘not as fun,’ and ‘a different DePauw.’ It is hard to sell a university to a prospective student if the upperclassmen are expressing frustration with the administration regarding their social experience and growth at DePauw.

Don’t misunderstand me when I say this, DePauw offers a valuable education and I am privileged to attend such a University. However, I can’t help but wonder… is DePauw University the best place for my sister to receive an excellent college education and grow socially?

I understand when promoting social events, safety is a concern; yet, limiting students or trying to shape social experiences with more policies and restrictions causes more students to engage in shady behavior. This also creates and promotes an “us” versus “them” mentality between the University administration and current students.

Recent articles written by The DePauw staff highlighted a decrease in enrollment and highlighted the University’s rebranding process. If DePauw doesn’t know who we are as a university what types of experiences can we truly promote and promise to prospective students? When I was making my decision to attend DePauw, I was promised a University where I could grow academically, professionally, and socially. Yet, at times I have felt boundaries regarding my personal and social growth in different sectors within the DePauw community.

During my four years at DePauw there have been no viewing parties for global media events, such as the Superbowl or the Grammy Awards, that bring large groups of people together. When was the last time you hung out with DePauw students at an event sponsored by the University? When is the last time we had a concert? When was the last time you stepped foot in the University’s student organization space?

It is evident the lack of social opportunities is problematic for current DePauw students and I hope to see more events offered to the student body before I graduate in May or before my sister potentially decides to live in Greencastle for the next four years.