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Column: A Westville student’s point of view

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The word “unification” will never be forgotten by Purdue North Central and Calumet students.

I submitted a photograph to the CHESS art gallery a couple weeks ago, and they accepted it. They emailed me back asking if I could print it, frame it, and bring it to Porter Hall within 48 hours. I said no because I wouldn’t be able to make it out to the Hammond campus, which is where Porter Hall is, within two days. So my piece didn’t make it into the art gallery of my own college because I couldn’t make it to the Hammond campus.

I’m in the Honors College, which used to be known as the Honors Program pre-unification. When the Westville campus was adopting the already-made Honors College from the Hammond campus, the Honors Program students were told we would remain under the conditions of the program. For the most part, this has remained true. Except all of a sudden, I had two weeks to prepare for a presentation at an undergraduate research fair because it’s part of the Honors College requirements.

I am also in the Dean’s Leadership Group, which requires members to volunteer at university and community events and keep a 3.0 GPA for a scholarship. I have been a part of this group for almost two years now and have made lifelong friends, learned the importance of leadership and volunteerism and have grown to love my campus. I just found out that the group will no longer be accepting new applicants. Those who are already in the group will hopefully be grandfathered in, assuming they meet the requirements to receive their scholarship, but no new persons will be added if PNW decides to keep the program running until those in it already have graduated out. I assume that it’s because the Hammond campus does not have a program like the Dean’s Leadership Group. Even though PNC had the funds for it, maybe the unified PNW doesn’t.

These are just a few of the recent issues, within the last few weeks that I have personally had due to unification.

There is one cross-country runner and two softball players from the Westville campus. Maybe this is because the Hammond athletes are a whole lot more talented than the Westville athletes, but I have a hard time believing that. Maybe it’s because most of the coaches and the athletic director are originally from the Hammond campus, and we know that the Hammond campus doesn’t do change.

Where unification has been the goal, the reality has been the Westville campus adopting what the Hammond campus already had set in place. I, along with other students, feel that unification has meant giving titles to Hammond campus faculty and staff. There are small numbers of advisers, department heads, and administration that are from the Hammond campus. If a student needs to talk to a department head, they will most likely find them at the Hammond campus. I know that’s where I can find mine. If a student needs to talk to their adviser, they will also most likely find them on the Hammond campus. Next year, that will be where you will find the Pioneer adviser.

I don’t want to be like the Hammond campus. I liked my campus the way it was before unification. I can’t participate in an art gallery that my own college is putting on because I couldn’t get it to Hammond. I have to do extra requirements for a program because that’s what the Hammond campus does. One of the most influential groups on campus, and one that I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of, will soon be no more because Hammond doesn’t have a group such as that.

There should be equality for unequal campuses because that’s what this world preaches: that everyone should be treated equally. Why would two universities be any different? Just because the Hammond campus has more students than the Westville campus does not mean that it is better.

While we all have our own opinions about unification, we need to be careful to remain respectful of each other and of both campuses. We will not be able to “undo” the unification process, but we can make it better for ourselves and for each other. Yes, Westville students, I know the 10 emails a day saying “Hammond campus only!” and “…in the SULB on the Hammond campus” are so annoying, but we just have to deal with it. We had a fantastic Founders Day event on the Westville campus that did not have an empty seat in the house. Attend events, work with your campus, and be patient in this whole unification process, because we know it has been a process.

But on the bright side, PNW always offers transportation for large events to and from campuses, and they will do so for the upcoming Student Awards Banquet, an event that both the Hammond and the Westville campuses have participated in before.

1 Comment

One Response to “Column: A Westville student’s point of view”

  1. D Carol Kurmis on March 22nd, 2017 9:50 pm

    I GRADUATED in 2007 with a master from PNC; thus, I’m an alumni of PNC.

    Purdue (PNC) hired me 2003. My best and only memories are from PNC and student leadership experiences at PNC and Purdue West Lafayette.

    Yet, I felt forced to retire, on my ternm, or be forced out. I believe this because of unification.

    I’m fortunate because my husband took care of me, but I don’t feel I was treated fairly.

    My experience is pure PNC and the magnificent faculty.

    D. Carol Kurmis
    M.S. Ed. 2007

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