We are all part of the Hornet Nation at Emporia State, no matter where we live. The debate over whether our faculty should live in Emporia has lingered around for years, but has yet to become a policy, according to Kevin Johnson, general counsel.
Several employees commute, at least an hour, every day from various places such as Topeka, Lawrence and Kansas City. But our university would benefit from having more faculty living near campus.
The main pro that umbrellas this debate is that it would boost and enrich our Hornet Nation. Taylor University in Indiana, states on their website that 90 percent of their students live on campus “because of the relationships they are able to establish.” In return, 75 percent of faculty and staff members live “within walking distance of campus” because, they claim, “people matter.” At ESU, we are people-oriented so who knows what life would be like if we had percentages even close to Taylor University. Our relationships could build and become stronger. Productivity might go up and less time would be spent commuting.
Having our professors living in town could boost school spirit and support for our students. They could attend sporting events or theater productions with much more ease. It would mean a lot to students for their advisers, mentors and teachers to see them excel at something they work hard on outside of the classroom.
If we had more ESU employees living here, they would be shopping at the same grocery stores, strolling through the same mall and eating at the same restaurants. They would be sharing more of the same experiences that our students go through and could relate to them better. Many members of the faculty would be better updated with Emporia current events such as what movie will be showing at the Granada Theatre this coming weekend and which new bar is rumored to open soon.
Having more faculty living in Emporia would connect and bring us together more than a “Stingers Up,” hype song or campaign ever could.