Student input is a necessity when revising the new mission statement

The Keene State College administration’s plan to revise the college mission statement with student input could be beneficial, however, only if changes are actually seen and actions are taken.

Getting a range of students who are involved in different aspects of campus life would have a better outcome for directly representing the college’s values than focusing on fewer demographics. The students, faculty and staff make up the college so representing their views should be a top priority. Keene State should strive to hear input from multiple groups of students including but not limited to, student government, athletes, Greek Life and other clubs and organizations.

One of the identified values of the college has always been offering a diverse educational experience. This is crucial to Keene State College staying true to the small liberal arts school identity they want to represent. The diverse educational experience is about students in and out of the classroom interacting with people from all walks of life. This idea goes beyond race and ethnicity, and includes individuals of all ages, backgrounds and identities. This directly connects to the college’s motto of “Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve” as it’s teaching students about the diverse nature of the world they will encounter post-graduation.

Another value that the college tried to uphold pre-COVID was the community staff and students brought to campus each semester. The Equinox believes that this is a value that the college should revive with this revision of the mission statement. Because of COVID, Keene State has lost the ability to hold social gatherings and events in the same manner as they could in previous years. Individuals from different backgrounds were not able to mingle to the extent they were once able to before the pandemic and the overall sense of community was lost.

The COVID-19 pandemic, along with budget cuts, also disrupted the college’s values concerning sustainability. The abandonment of the Office of Sustainability as well as programs such as the Eco-reps and R.O.C.K.S (recycling on campus Keene State) made the once-popular value of a sustainable campus seem null and void in many students’ eyes.

If the college wants to revisit the idea of sustainability, it may be time to return to using reusable plates and utensils rather than paper and plastic alternatives in the dining commons. And ultimately, the value of sustainability cannot be obtained without help and understanding from the students. Before they were cut, organizations and roles that involved student participation in the education of others were something that upheld many of Keene State’s values at the same time.

With this plan, it comes time for the college to prioritize its values and the mission statement with the inclusion of student voices. This step cannot just be about earning accreditation and how the college is seen in the public eye. It needs to be more about making real changes that accurately reflect the mission statement. It’s one thing to listen to the input and another thing to actually follow through with what has been heard. This is a chance for Keene State to prove if they are actually listening to the student body and actively reflect their thoughts in the mission statement.


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