No common ground

I’ve lived on campus for the past four years, and if there’s one thing I’ve noticed during my experience, it’s that FSU is majorly lacking school pride and a sense of community.

According to the school’s website, “Framingham State University is a place where inquisitive, career-focused students thrive. … Our campus has much to offer – from our planetarium to our art gallery, and state-of-the-art science laboratories and dorms.”

Though I agree the campus does have much to offer academically, one thing the administration seems to have forgotten about is offering students a common ground for socialization.

Without a space dedicated solely for students to engage and interact with each other, it’s difficult to garner school pride as many students don’t know their peers outside of their four classes or extracurricular activities.

There aren’t many common areas for students to freely gather specifically for social interaction – the keyword being freely.

If one wishes to socialize with a larger audience on campus, their best bet is to head to the dining commons – but it will come at a cost. If you are a resident, your mandatory meal plan pays your fee for social interaction, but comes with a limited number of weekly entries into the dining hall. 

If you are a commuter, you are not required to purchase a meal plan, but if you wish to engage with the large population of residents, you must pay the $4.50 breakfast rate or $9 for lunch and another $9 for dinner.

After the dining commons’ renovations last year and over the summer, the size of the commuter cafe was greatly reduced, resulting in the seating by Toasted and the Ram’s Den Grille to be mainly occupied by customers of those dining locations with the intent to eat, rather than socialize or hang out before class.

Sam DiMatteo, a junior and commuter, said “It can be difficult to find places to go in between classes.” She said, “Since the section by Toasted has been cut to widen the dining commons, it seems like people struggle a lot more to find places where they can meet up and simply hang out with other students.

“Any other common area on campus is often quiet and full of students studying, so it leaves few options for a more relaxed atmosphere.”

Though students can gather in areas such as the Henry Whittemore Library or Hemenway Laboratories free of charge, those areas are mainly dedicated to academics and those who wish to study in a quiet, peaceful environment.

Without common grounds for socialization, not only is it difficult for students to feel a sense of community with our peers, but it’s difficult to feel a sense of pride for the school we attend, as we simply do not have the opportunity to regularly interact with the faces that make up our campus.

Our school colors are black and gold – bold and flashy – and yet aside from some lackluster lamp post decor, anyone driving through State Street would never know the vibrant but subtle shades that define our school identity.

In many ways, the students of FSU are much like our school colors, bold and vibrant, yet inadequately scattered throughout campus preventing passersby – even FSU natives – to truly know the glorious hues and faces that define our campus.