Tomorrow, Feb. 2, UNH President Mark Huddleston will hold his annual State of the University address in what is assumed to be an effort to bridge the communication gap between students and administrators. Doors will open in the MUB’s Granite State Room at 12:30 p.m. and the address is scheduled to begin at 1.
“The 2016 State of the University address is a university-wide town hall meeting question and answer session. [The address] is a great opportunity to reflect on our challenges, accomplishments and strategic planning, and for members of the UNH community to ask questions and offer ideas following the remarks,” according to the press release sent to students via email on Jan. 19.
Though we acknowledge the time of the address is not necessarily the most ideal, The New Hampshire strongly encourages all students without class or work obligations to attend. This event serves as an opportunity for students to express grievances directly to President Huddleston.
The email states that students can also submit questions to Huddleston via email at UNH.firstname.lastname@example.org or through Twitter using #UNHSOTU.
While we would like to see more events like these — preferably at a time in the evening when more students would be less likely to have conflicts with class — we highly support and laud the address notwithstanding.
UNH is a large institution. There are some drawbacks that come alongside the many academic conveniences our school has to offer. Perhaps one of the largest is a sense of disconnect between us students and the administration; a perceived lack of intimacy. It can become very easy for students on a campus this large to feel as though their voices aren’t heard, especially by the administration.
Per its mission statement, the University of New Hampshire is “the state’s public research university, providing comprehensive, high-quality undergraduate programs and graduate programs of distinction.”
UNH undoubtedly provides students with top-notch instructors, facilities and opportunities to make the most out of their undergraduate and/or graduate experiences. Additionally, we feel as though our student body president Cam Cook has performed exceptionally as both an advocate and voice for students on campus. He has also made himself incredibly accessible by providing students with his email address and cell phone number, which is something we find to be a praiseworthy effort.
But it is imperative for university administrators to hold more events like the State of the University address in order to continue nurturing a stronger sense of support from the administration.
It would be mutually beneficial to both students and the administration. On one hand, students would feel as though they have more opportunities to meet face to face with administrators and President Huddleston himself. On the other, administrators would be able to garner an idea of what students are both concerned and quite possibly unaware of.
Open communication channels between students and administrators would greatly contribute to UNH’s success as an institution that is growing in prestige at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The State of the University address certainly helps foster such open communication, but The New Hampshire thinks it speaks on behalf of all students on campus when we assert that we’d like to see more events like this in the future.