The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024

Dream big, take action

How not to waste your time spent on the Hilltop

As the U.S. economy fluctuates, universities such as SMU must react.

How will private schools like SMU combat a decrease in admissions because of financial hurdles?

Schools with large endowment funds are able to offset increases in tuition needed for the operating budget. SMU can differentiate itself by demonstrating its added value to students’ experiences.

Unfortunately, the SMU administration’s message to students falls short of inspirational to many students. What do I mean by this? “SMU Unbridled” serves as the theme for SMU’s campaign for the next century. The Web site reads:

“Today, SMU beckons students who, like the founders, have the courage to dream big and the resolve to roll up their sleeves and take action. Grounded in a classical education, these scholars as alumni have the ambition to address society’s challenges and serve communities everywhere.”

I challenge students to consider the statement above. First, what is SMU offering? SMU invites students to join its community and traditions, offers a sound classical education, problem-solving skills to address great problems, and experiences that encourage a life of service.

Second, what does SMU expect? SMU expects students who possess courage, dream big, show resolve, pursue scholarship, and have the ambition to tackle all of the problems the world faces.

As a student who loves this institution for the education, experiences, and personal development I’ve received from it, I worry for SMU.

The school is trying to improve our campus experience, faculty and academic excellence, and student quality. However, I question how many students have “the courage to dream big and the resolve to take action.”

This institution belongs to the students. It would not exist without us. You or some benefactor invested financially in the hope that you will provide a greater rate of return to society.

I know we are not all business scholars, but I think we all understand the principle of rate of return. Rate of return, also commonly referred to as rate of investment, is the ratio of money gained or lost on an investment relative to the amount of money invested.

What kind of interest are you returning on an annual basis? What is your current yield? How long will it take for you to mature? Okay–enough with the business puns.

Maybe this is the first time you have heard about the capital campaign that will improve your experience in college. Maybe you’ve had a philosophical moment where you realized there might be more to life than what you’re doing right now.

We have all fallen short of this vision that SMU has for its students. We either do too little or too much of the wrong thing. Or maybe we are not recognized enough for the great things that we do.

Fellow Mustangs, if you have not figured it out by now, let me spell it out for you. Hopefully, you have the respect and the intelligence to realize that these four years should not be squandered.

Respect those who have given so much to SMU and have the intelligence to realize you cannot afford to waste what you have.

So what should you do? Well, it depends on what is holding you back from becoming a better student, friend, and citizen. If you are spending too much time studying, maybe you need to ask for more help.

Or maybe you are finding yourself too caught up in the social scene. Maybe you need to invest a little more time in your academic education. Don’t complain that classes are too easy; stop shying away from a class just because your friend told you it was difficult.

And have some spirit and pride. We have some amazing athletic talent here at SMU.

Follow SMU’s advice: dream big! The biggest question is not what you have not done but what you will do.

Don’t get me wrong. Current students are doing and creating awesome things. I believe we all have God-given abilities and talents. It would be a shame if we did not embrace them.

Here is an example. Fraternity men need to stop complaining about how a social registration policy is inhibiting our rights or our fun.

When was the last time all the fraternities and sororities worked together to do something for the Dallas community? Imagine what that would say for not only SMU but for the Greek system as a whole.

Yes, we do have students who serve the community on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. But that’s not the general attitude of an SMU student.

We are all guilty of apathy. We get riled up about parking tickets instead of protesting about human rights abuses. When was the last time you were even in a protest of any kind?

Our nature makes it difficult for us to want to change our habits. But remember what Newton’s law states: An object at rest will move when acted upon by an unbalanced force.

I believe the one thing keeping SMU from becoming a top-tier institution right now is its student body.

We are fortunate enough to not have to really worry about the economy. Instead, we can spend our time thinking of solutions for the world’s problems. We have time to fight for others’ rights. We have time and resources to accomplish many things.

I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the Class of 2012. You all are an amazing group of students. I’m sure the Class of 2013 will be even more remarkable.

It is up to you to rekindle the spirit that originally founded this wonderful institution. What will you do with your time and talents?

Daniel Liu is a graduate engineering management student. He can be reached for comment at [email protected].

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