- Category: Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)
- Published: 23 September 2015
- Written by JAMILAH MCMILLIAN | ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR
In June 2015, the University was named one of the “most beautiful coastal college campuses,” by Best Value Schools. It was ranked number 27 on a list of 30 coastal universities from around the nation, and was the only university listed from the state of New Jersey.
According to bestvalueschools.com location and other factors influenced individual rankings. The highest rated school was Pepperdine University, from Malibu California with a total of 17 points. Monmouth University at 27th place had nine points. Points were given to universities with national awards or honors. Schools with the latest and largest honors acquired the most points in this category. Campuses were also rated on outdoor features that students could utilize. The more features the more points. Another criteria was based off the number of celebrated buildings on campuses. Lastly, points were given for notable characteristics, such as a campuses environmental friendliness or the historical significance.
“Being on this list makes me feel special to be a student at a school that has been nationally recognized for its refinement,” said Dominique Williams, a sophomore and political science major.
Vice President of Student Life and Leadership Engagement, Mary Anne Nagy, affirms that it is great that the University has been recognised among many notable universities. “I think anytime the university appears in any ranking nationally it’s great news for us because it demonstrates that the University is becoming better known outside of the state and outside of the region. Certainly to be in the company of Pepperdine, and the University of Rhode Island, and some of the places in Florida that’s good company be kept with,” said Nagy.
Rock On ShoreAccording to Patti Swannack, Vice President of Administrative Services, 27th place is low when considering the amount of commitment that goes into maintaining the Universities charm and appearance, “I am very pleased that Monmouth was selected although I think we should be number 1! Many people work very hard to maintain the quality of all of our facilities, many behind the scenes. Our employees take great pride in their work and it shows,” she said.
Vice President Nagy, held a slightly different view, she thinks that facilities play a big part in the universities upkeep, but she asserts that students play an invaluable role as well. “I have to say I think our students are wonderful stewards of caring for our campus. It is incredibly rare that I see a student litter, use graffiti, or vandalize. Our students are marvelous in taking care of their home.” said Nagy. “Frankly we couldn’t do it without them. Yes it’s wonderful that we have the grounds crew but if students didn’t respect the property the way they do, it would make our jobs a lot harder, and so I think it’s just wonderful that our students are partners with us in that,” she continued.
Ariely Batista, a freshman communications major, said that besides the beach her favorite location on campus is the soccer field. “I just love how nice it looks,” she began. “The grass is so green, and you can just lay there and read a book. It’s one of the places where I can actually find peace,” she said.
The soccer field may provide a tranquil escape for some, but it was not one of the features considered in the ranking. Erlanger Gardens was most likely given greater consideration. “Erlanger Gardens is the prettiest area of our campus. I love how it looks during the summer, and every time I am over there or in Wilson Hall I feel like i’m walking through history,” said Williams.
Maintaining the Universities appearance requires funding. According to Swannack, “Our budgets vary from year to year. Over the past few years, consistent with the Strategic Plan most funding has gone to support academic programs, including new labs, classroom upgrades, and faculty offices,” she said.
Acquired funding allows for the fulfillment of various projects especially during times when students are away. “Every summer there are so many projects.” said Nagy. “Look at what we did this summer to improve the food service experience here in the Stafford Center. Next summer, we will take the residential dining hall offline, and we are going to redo the residential dining facility. There is a huge commitment, and I do not see that changing at all.” she said.
The universities appearance, and coastal proximity influence the decision for enrolment for many students. However, for Williams this was not the case, “I did not see the campus until my first day of freshmen orientation. But after taking one step onto it, I felt this feeling of exhilaration and relief. I knew I had made the right decision--Monmouth University is beautiful.”
SECOND PHOTO TAKEN by Rebecca Zidik