WSU Education Village: Big benefit for small margin of WSU students

Allison Mueller

Op-ed contributed by Kim Schneider

According to an article in the Winonan by Anne Kooiker, 20 percent of Winona State University’s student population is declared as education majors.

After finally breaking ground on the WSU Tunnel project, renovating Baldwin Lounge and upgrading the first floor Somsen western hallway, WSU has put it’s efforts into a different multi-million dollar project: Education Village.

Although this project will, no doubt, benefit the aspiring educators in our community, as a student in the Mass Communication, English and Theatre and Dance Departments, I have to ask: where are the large campus improvement projects for the other 80 percent of students not involved in teaching education?

The Education Village page on the University’s website states that “this project [is] central to the future of our campus.” I respectfully disagree.

Although teaching education is part of WSU’s history, I believe moving forward as a University should focus on inclusion of all majors and include projects that improve education for all students, not just Education majors. After all, that’s why we pay tuition fees.

For example, all departments on campus benefit from the tutors in the Writing Center on third floor Minné Hall. However, according to Writing Center director April Herndon, all funds for the Writing Center come out of English Department funds. Upgrading the center’s technology will allow tutors to help students refine their writing skills more effectively.

The Phelp’s handicap entrance is another example of a campus area that needs improvement. It has dim lighting at best, raising concerns of safety. The psychology department also disposes their lab rats next to the elevator in a covered trashcan, which barely contains the stench of decomposition. Better lighting, improvements to the archaic elevator and a better disposal system will improve this area for students and staff entering the building with disabilities.

While I don’t doubt that the Education Village will benefit our community, I do think that this expensive project will not benefit as many students as the University claims it will. WSU as solely an educator’s university is a thing of the past. It’s time to look toward a future that is as well rounded as the students that attend WSU. We are more than our past. We are a diverse community with diverse interests striving to improve our community.