Building a campus community is extremely important for any college or university. This helps not only with student engagement but for students to build connections, as well. Monmouth is a small university with just under 5,000 undergraduate students; smaller campuses can create a better campus community because of the relationships built.
One editor said, “I think Monmouth has a close-knit campus community. Because Monmouth is so small, I believe it’s so easy to get involved and make connections. Clubs & organizations are the main reason Monmouth has such a good campus community. However, if students aren’t inclined to participate in organizations on campus, I think they can feel extremely left out.”
Another editor believed, “Community is built by the students being involved, and honestly, I don’t think Monmouth has a good campus community at all. Nobody seems to have ‘Monmouth pride,’ and certainly not to the extent that other universities do.”
If there is little to no participation in engagement, students may not be able to find that community. With many clubs trying to get more students to join, there could be issues regarding what events they are able to put on to support them. The Student Government Association (SGA) is responsible for giving clubs the funds to run events. One editor believed, “Monmouth should definitely support their clubs and organizations more. There are many clubs that are in desperate need of a bigger budget and aren’t able to hold more than two events in the year because of it. I think it would get people to be more involved in the clubs they sign up for instead of just lingering in the GroupMes.”
Building a campus community is always a constant effort. Students should continue to make efforts and strides to become involved on campus, but it comes with a challenge. An Involvement Fair is often hosted at the beginning of the fall semester. This past spring, there was another. One editor said, “Monmouth can continue to build its campus community by allowing clubs and organizations to host more events that encourage students to become more involved, like the club fair.”
Another editor said, “I’m not sure how Monmouth could improve its campus community. I feel as if there is a vast disconnect between the higher administration and the students, so bridging this gap could perhaps make Monmouth into a more cohesive unit.”
This disconnect can come from students not having too much access to anybody in higher administration. Usually, students have to go through a secretary first and may not be able to communicate to higher administration to hear concerns or ask questions.
Even though there is this disconnect, many students see familiar faces everywhere around campus. Whether students are gathered in the Student Center or Leon Hess Business School, familiar faces are everywhere. One editor commented, “It’s so nice walking to class and seeing a bunch of familiar faces. At larger schools, I think it’s harder to make connections outside of a few friends or the people you live with.”
If Monmouth was a larger campus, this may not be possible. One editor commented, “If we were as big as Rutgers, I think it would be too overwhelming.”
Some may also believe that student engagement could be better if some facilities were up -to-date. One editor expressed, “I believe Monmouth needs to overhaul its old dorms, specifically Pinewood and Elmwood, because all other dorms have air conditioning and good plumbing while those two do not.”
If some dorms were up newer and up-to-date, some students may see that as an opportunity to live on campus and engage more with what Monmouth has to offer.
Building a campus community is crucial to student engagement and making your college years worthwhile. Making friends and being involved helps build a community because students are then more likely to show pride in their school. Monmouth’s campus community seems to be good, but there’s always more progress to be made.