Too many cooks in the kitchen: How big is too big for Augustana?

Growth provides greater futures for students, faculty and alumni

JOSHUA ESTABROOK

jpestabrook16@ole.augie.edu

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While walking from one building to another on campus, students can usually expect a wave or smile from someone familiar. Augustana’s small-town feel is something that sets it apart from other universities.

However, despite the benefits to having a closer-knit community, it would be of students, faculty and alumni best interests if the university continued to expand.

Augustana is currently at an awkward point in relation to its balance of student enrollment and capability of handling so many students, mainly in regards to residential areas, cafeteria space and parking spots. 

At this point, Augustana’s parking is beyond capacity and is in need of reconfigurating considering over 50 students are still on the waitist for parking permits. When facing complications such as parking, Augustana has either two choices: lower enrollment numbers or expand. 

Because a growing university brings benefits along with it, it would be wisest for the university to expand.

More student enrollment potentially means more revenue which could be used to build more facilities, supply larger scholarships and expand academic programs.

With more students,  comes a broader range of interests meaning Augustana could diversify the academic programs it offers. 

Nonexistent majors  and minors, such as environmental science, could become a reality while smaller majors, such as classics, could grow.

Not only would the University be able to expand undergraduate programs, it could potentially implement a wider variety of master’s programs..

If Augustana were to offer more master’s programs, less students would be forced to switch schools to further pursue their studies.

If academics don’t sell you on expansion, maybe food will. Tired of Starbucks or the same grab-and-go options from the Huddle?  A larger student population would open the door for greater selections of food options. 

As the need for more dining space increases, fast-food chains or new coffee stands could possibly implement one of their franchises on campus, giving students a wider variety of food choices. 

There are benefits for alumni too. Anyone who graduates from Augustana enters a network of former Vikings they can depend upon. 

Whether it be internships for current students, full-time employment for graduates or fruitful advice, Augustana alumni help one another out.  

Currently, our alumni pool is roughly 30,000 strong which may sound large, but compared to larger schools like the University of South Dakota, our alumni pool is significantly smaller. 

Imagine what Augustana graduates could accomplish together if they had a larger alumni family to draw upon for advice and financial support. Imagine the impact a larger presence of Augustana alumni would have on the surrounding community.

There’s no doubt about it—expanding the university would bring growing pains, however, we cannot let temporary inconveniences interfere with our best interests in the long run.

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