What’s so great about Goshen College anyway?

Often I hear people on campus talking about how we are “desperate” for students, as if we’re practically begging people to come to college here. I suspect that some people even believe that we have to “bribe” high school students to enroll.

Or else, what? They won’t come?

Yes, our enrollment numbers are not at a sustainable level right now. The Record published an article this week that reports that although GC’s long-term financial health is strong with a robust endowment, it still faces a short-term problem of not having enough tuition revenue to pay for all of its programs.

But the seniors who spoke in chapel on Monday give me hope that GC is the kind of community that people want to join – no bribery necessary.

Almost all of the students who spoke said that after four years of putting in the work for a Goshen College degree, they are happy to have studied here.

Each one – Lassane Ouedraogo, Kate Stoltzfus, Michelle Espino, Lauren Treiber and Marin Hofkamp –demonstrated that they love the GC community. Some fought back tears and some spoke with passion. I have to believe there is something behind that.

It seems to me that the students here, although sometimes critical, genuinely want the best for GC. Why? Because this community matters.

As The Record reports this week, Goshen College is a place for women, Hispanic students and transfers, among many others. I also believe it’s a place that challenges all of its members alike to grow.

That’s why GC matters. Here is a place where young people are molded to become the best versions of themselves (and shall I name all of the five core values or do you have them memorized?)

Jim Brenneman, president, said it well at the opening convocation last fall: “The world needs Goshen College.”

The liberal arts student in me knows that critique and constructive criticism is important, but I also believe that for our campus to continue to be a healthy place to learn, we have to also focus on the positive. Smile, Goshen!

I’d like to look to those five seniors as examples of people who were not afraid to look at our college with critical eyes, but who also see it for the wonderful place that it is. After all, I see a lot of good things happening on campus this semester.

The Record published an update on what I think is one of the most prominent news stories on campus this year. GC is seeking to become officially named a Hispanic Serving Institution, indicating that 25 percent of the student body identifies as Hispanic.

Although it’s only a name, having it will also lead to opportunities for GC to apply for grant funding that will increase even more programs supporting racial and cultural diversity.

That sounds like good news to me, and one of the many answers to my first question.