Pessimism is easy. As social creatures, it’s in our nature to identify that which discontents us, but this leads to a biased perception of reality. Admittedly, I struggle with this sometimes. That’s why I feel it is important for all of us to take a reality check of sorts: despite all of the criticism being thrown around, ONU doesn’t actually suck. On the contrary, we are a truly amazing institution.
To start, we have a beautiful campus. The trees, flowers, and lakes make for a beautiful and tranquil ambiance. The Green Monster is perfect for exercise and outdoor time, as are the Tundra and other fields. The buildings on campus exhibit a near-perfectly executed balance of modernity and tradition through their architecture. For as many gripes as Ada receives, we are lucky to live in a quaint and safe (#79!) community. Plus, (Kinghorn notwithstanding), we have good facilities. No, really. Relative to our needs and other comparable universities, we are in good condition. We have a recently renovated library and student union, one of the nicest engineering buildings in Ohio, and technological modernization throughout.
Most prominently, however, and most importantly, we have great academics. As if this weren’t already self-evident, I could throw around some facts in support of this claim: we’re U.S. News and World Report’s #2 Best Value School in the Midwest, we have a 97% job placement rate, and we have an average $72,235 post-graduation salary (compared to an average $54,132 for the nation, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics). Our student-faculty ratio is 12:1, 33% lower than the 18:1 national average. We also feature regularly on the Princeton Review, Forbes, and the Wall Street Journal.
More anecdotally, we have amazing faculty who truly care about their students. This is true of the instructors, advisors, program directors, deans, and upper-level administrators. We’re lucky for the amount of instructor-student interaction we have available, and the academic resources put at our disposal. We have a very robust tutoring program and writing center. Polar Careers has received glowing reviews by most who work with them, and the rest of the administration is well-designed to facilitate student success. Of course, these items are subjectively gauged, and individual experience will differ. I would encourage you, however, to consider how your experience with the faculty and administration at ONU has been, and whether you have had a net positive experience.
Our criticisms aren’t meant to discourage the student body; they’re meant to better the institution
But academics are only one portion of the college experience. The rest of the experience, and in many ways the greater source of fulfillment, comes from the athletic and extracurricular scene at ONU. We are home to 23 sports teams and over 150 clubs, including eight social Greek organizations. We cover a wide range of interests, from engineering to political science to student wellness. The average extracurricular commitment of an ONU student is massive compared to many other schools.
This level of engagement also has the often understated byproduct of bringing the student body together into one cohesive community. In an “everybody knows everybody” environment, it’s hard not to feel at home. Truly, this is at the heart of what makes ONU special;the simple kindness that is ubiquitous throughout campus should serve as a reminder of our worth as a society of learners.
So why do we (the student body and Northern Review) seem so critical of the university? While I can only speak on my own behalf, I would say that our criticisms aren’t meant to discourage the student body; they’re meant to better the institution. We’re critical of ONU because we care, and because we want to make the student body as aware and engaged with campus issues as possible. In this sense, the Northern Review is another one of the good things about ONU.
In fact, we’re grateful for the editorial freedom afforded to us by the administration of Ohio Northern. As an organization of a private university, we are not protected by the first amendment. If they wished, any number of upper-level administrators could have stopped us by now, but they haven’t, simply because they have integrity and respect for their student body. I couldn’t be more appreciative.
Also, the food at Mac isn’t actually that bad. Where would we be without Warm Cookie Wednesday?