To the Fairfield University Community:

When I arrived at Fairfield University nearly four years ago, almost every freshman lived in a forced triple, the quad had no grassy knoll, the townhouses had basements and the cafeteria’s plain white plates were almost as dull as the food served upon them. With all of that said, the dramatic changes across our campus over the past four years, most for the better, others for the worse, have only reinforced my affection for this University and those I have been so privileged to meet. Thus, in reflecting on my time here at Fairfield, I have been preoccupied with two questions: How did we get here? And, how should we move forward after the class of 2010, myself included, graduates?

The answer to the first question is far easier than the latter. Student activism has shaped this campus since its founding, distinctly evident from the student displays of historical activism in the “Fairfield Room” at the Tunnel of Oppression last week. Student activism has continued to motivate students on campus throughout the decades. Since my freshman year, students have similarly advocated for better living facilities, food options and programming on campus. And though many believe these calls for change fall upon the deaf ears of administrators, I am confident that the work FUSA and IRHA have done on behalf of the student body is paying off.  I encourage everyone to continue questioning, not just for argument’s sake, but to promote positive growth on campus.

Now to answer the more difficult question: Where do we go from here? I believe there are two pressing issues that directly impact the student body that must be addressed. First, the seemingly never-ending increase in tuition costs must be examined by a joint committee of students and administrators. Though Fairfield had a 5.8% increase in tuition this year and is very generous with financial aid, totaling nearly 47 million dollars this upcoming year alone, how much more expensive will a college education become? $60,000 per year? $70,000 per year? There is no good or easy answer to this question, but nevertheless I believe it is something that must be addressed through a constructive dialogue.

The second issue that must be dealt with is the change in hours at the Health Center.  As a Regis Resident Assistant and a concerned student, I believe this change not only endangers the health of students on campus, but also neglects the unfortunate reality of the social dynamic on this campus.  Before this change, students who needed to utilize on campus health resources, for whatever reason, found refuge at the Health Center at any time. Public Safety also had the choice to send students to the Health Center or the hospital, doing so without a problem during my time here. Now, some will argue, “In the real world, there is no 24-hour health center.”  I would normally have no problem conceding to this argument, except for the fact that we are not yet in the real world: we are on a college campus. I believe that students and Health Center administrators should work together to address these issues.

In closing, my time at Fairfield University has been amazing and I believe that I have achieved all I can here. It now falls to you: the classes of 2011, 2012, 2013, and soon, the class of 2014. Please remember that Fairfield University is not perfect, but in striving for perfection, you can promote positive change on campus for future students. I will miss you all very much next year and know that I will never forget my time or the people here! Good luck and God bless!

Spencer Thibodeau
Proud Member of the Class of 2010

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