The best way to understand a place is to see it through the eyes of people who live there. Dakota State is no exception, and this week, I set out to gain a better understanding of how DSU is viewed by the students who attend its classes and live in its dorms. To do this, I interviewed eight students, Paul Schipper, Yasir Altayyar, JC Gliko, Zach Miller, Katie Lebada, Kerstin Roesler, Vidur Bhalla, and Zach Janssen. These students come from a variety of grades, ranging from freshmen to seniors, each of who was asked a series of questions to understand their opinions of: the university, how they spend their free time, and what, if anything, they would like to change about DSU. What follows is the result of these interviews compiled to understand how these students responded to each question.
When asked what students enjoyed best about DSU, the answers centered on the community atmosphere created around campus. With the small class sizes, comes a good relationship between the students and their professors. Paul Schipper, Zach Merrill and Katie Lebada expressed this attitude. Paul elaborated on this by stating that he enjoys the student teacher relationships on campus, stating that, because of the university’s size, teachers are able to take the time to find out who students are, and then take an interest in where they are going.
Zach also expanded on this by stating that by having this community atmosphere, allows for the ability to make great connections with professors. Furthermore, professors also help by running great programs, such as the network security program, a favorite aspect of Yasir Altayyar. One of the ways that the community atmosphere is through small class sizes, a favorite aspect expressed by both Vidur Bhalla and JC Gliko. A community aspect that freshman Zach Janssen stated that he enjoys is the free access students have to the community center, and the various activities that can be done there. Finally, Kerstin Roesler stated that her favorite part of campus is the size of the campus itself that helps create a close community.
After learning what students around campus enjoy about DSU, I wanted to find out how they spend their free time. While their answers varied, the one thing all of the interviewees had in common, when first asked the question, was, “What free time?” Upon further examination, seven of the interviewees stated a favorite activity to attend in their free time. Zach Janssen stated that what he enjoys best about campus so far are the activities that various groups on campus put on; specifically, he stated that he enjoyed watching slam poet George Watsky. Kerstin responded in a similar fashion, stating that she enjoys the events on campus; however, she stated that she particularly enjoys going to DSU’s sporting events. Vidur also told me that he is a sports fan, spending his free time on the weekends watching football. Katie, on the other hand, enjoys activities on campus put on by the gaming club, with a particular love of Magic the Gatheringä tournaments. While many students enjoy events put on by sports teams and clubs, Zach Merrill stated that his favorite way to spend his free time by playing ultimate Frisbee on the TC lawn. Free time is not always fun and games though. When asked about his free time, Paul told me that he uses it to work in the TCB recording studio, working on audio production projects. Yasir also told me that his free time is very busy, stating that he generally spends three hours a day studying, and when he is done with that he, understandably, spends his time relaxing in his apartment.
Finally, I asked these students if there is anything about DSU that they would like to change. These answers were very varied ranging from simple answers of nothing by Zach Janssen, to very complex answers. Paul Schipper responded by stating that he would like to change the apathy from the student body; meaning that he wishes that more students would attend the activities on campus, such as plays, because by ignoring and not attending these events simply ignores the hard work of many people around campus. Following this line of thinking, Katie responded that she wishes that there were more activities on the weekend to help rid DSU of its suitcase college reputation. One of the ways to improve activities was suggested by Yasir who stated that he wished there were more games available to students around campus. In addition to changes related to activities, students also offered suggestions to help the university due to the new, high levels of enrollment. Vidur stated that he would like a greater option for parking for students that do not live on campus. Continuing on the space issue, Zach Merrill stated that he wants more space in the TC and Myxers to keep students from feeling cramped while in that building. With the dorms being filled this year, the internet connection speed has been suffering; therefore, JC stated that if she could change something about DSU, it would be to have better internet in the residence halls. The final suggestion for how to improve DSU with the new enrollment came from Kerstin, who suggested that a new resident hall be built to deal with ever expanding enrollment.
After conducting my interviews around campus this week, I have gained a better understanding as to how the student body views DSU. I must add a word of thanks again to Paul Schipper, Yasir Altayyar, JC Gliko, Zach Miller, Katie Lebada, Kerstin Roesler, Vidur Bhalla, and Zach Janssen for agreeing to sit down for an interview.
Header picture by Tiffany Sommer