Springfield College President Mary-Beth Cooper has Q&A With Students

Pat Kenney
Managing Editor

Photo Courtesy: Drew Broffman
Photo Courtesy: Drew Broffman

Ever since Dr. Mary Beth Cooper stepped onto campus last fall, the atmosphere around campus has felt different. Although new ideas and plans pop up every day, one thought seemed to stick in the president’s mind.

As a new member of Springfield College, Dr. Cooper wanted to hear our voices. After all, Springfield is our home for most of the year and if there needs to be improvement, then it should be heard.

Diving right into her presidency, Cooper opened the floor up to the students. Suggestion boxes planted all around campus within her first month showed that she was willing to take the time and listen to what students had to say.

And listen she did.

After reading every suggestions and making sure every voice was heard, President Cooper developed a vision for Springfield College’s future. Five strategies emerged from her ideas, the administrative staff’s ideas and most importantly the students’ ideas.

Her five strategies for Springfield College’s development and future are Marketing and Strategic Communications, Safety, Enrollment, Diversity and Non-tuition Revenue Generation.

At a Springfield Student run forum held on Thursday, Nov. 6, President Cooper discussed each strategy and also added a sixth. Stating that if she were to have another strategy, making the campus greener would be it.

This strategy was not only discussed heavily at the forum but it is already starting to appear on campus. With double sided and follow-me printing, free water bottles given to every student and an iPad initiative, aimed at cutting down printing, in the works, Springfield has started to lean towards the green.

But that is not the only strategy starting to work its magic. As of last spring, students have been giving advice to where new blue lights should be placed on campus in order to ensure students stay safe at all times of the day.

Also, Springfield College has been added to the Common Application making it easier for perspective students to apply. This was President Cooper’s way of increasing enrollment and interest after 2013’s smaller than normal incoming class size.

Cooper mentioned that she wanted to boost enrollment and one way to do that was to broadcast and promote Springfield College as much as possible. However, what comes along with that is standing out from the rest.

While being placed on the Common App makes it easier to apply to Springfield College, it does not help it from standing out from every other school. The rebranding process, however, does.

Making the triangle relevant again is Cooper’s main focus for rebranding. What does Springfield College have that other schools across the country do not? How can we better bring students in and keep them here?

Those questions and many more are being asked and eventually, hopefully, answered. Springfield College is a special place and being able to showcase that to perspective students would, as President Cooper put it, make the way to build a stronger future.

With rebranding the college comes rethinking about how Springfield is set up and what can be changed from the inside. Many colleges are strictly ten-month operations. From September to June, campuses thrive but come July and August they are no better than the Sahara Desert.

What if Springfield were to become a beautiful luscious thriving paradise for all 12 months? Whether it would be year round courses offered on campus or online, a 12-month operation would change the game.

A year round system would reel in more money that could be put towards Cooper’s other strategies as well as other things. Let’s face it; Springfield College is a business, and a 12-month operation would make it much more successful.

Change and development seem to be President Cooper’s approach and so far it seems to be working. However, it is not just her who controls what happens on campus or to Springfield College.

The largest body on campus is the students. They have the majority and they can become the change they want to see, but only if they push for it.

If change is what you want then step up and say something because Cooper has one consistent message.

It is not her that runs the school it is the students. It is her job to make sure that every voice is heard and that Springfield College continues to strive and push towards the future.

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