When I walked by a tour group the other day on my way to class and a prospective student joked about the University, it made me start to think.
Complaining about the University of Rhode Island is something that every student, myself included, has done at least once during their years in Kingston. Concerns about parking, dining hall food quality and dormitory conditions frequently become the focus of jokes and displeasure among students.
Nonetheless, URI is a great place to call home.
The primary purpose of attending college is to become better educated. This semester, all five of my professors are experts at what they teach and offer invaluable information about the topic at hand. Other students, as well as myself, can testify that in class, we are not just taught information, but taught about the information’s real-world application.
Furthermore, the University provides real world opportunities for its students. From free help finding internships and jobs, to networking events with high-ranking alum, the University has proven its investment in our success.
Of course, college is not just about schoolwork. As important as education is, so is recreation for college students.
URI offers students over a hundred clubs and organizations. With this many on-campus groups, every student is afforded an opportunity to find where they belong.
On top of this, the school is less than 30 minutes away from renowned beaches and has numerous stores as well as a multitude of restaurants in neighboring Narragansett. All these things and more offer students countless outlets of entertainment.
School spirit does not lack at URI, either. A sea of Keaney Blue can be seen at the Ryan Center during weekend basketball games. Nearly every game the student section comes together as one to create a prideful and exciting atmosphere.
At face value, this doesn’t differ from other state Universities that much. After all, professors are supposed to be highly regarded, students are supposed to have ways to get involved and college sports are big at every large school.
However, think deeper for a minute about how URI does, in fact, stick out from other schools.
How many other schools with over 18,000 students have department chairs who know many students by name? How many other schools have their police officers hand out free food to students on random days between classes? How many students at other regional schools are able to live off campus in beach houses as upperclassmen? How many other schools give out balloons to their student section at every basketball game?
When one stops to reflect on their time here rather than make jokes about it, they can see that URI truly does stick out from other schools.
We all made a conscious decision to come to URI. If students stop to think about all of their experiences here, I think many students will find that it was one of the best decisions they made. The next time you hear someone complain about URI, whether it be a prospective student, a friend, yourself or a dreaded Providence College student, remember just how fortunate we are to attend this school.
Many may simply view Rhody as just another school, but 18,318 students should consider themselves lucky to call Rhody their home.