This past Friday I went into Boston to attend the Student Leader Retreat sponsored by the Office of the Council of Presidents. Many of the SGA representatives along with the Student Trustees from different Massachusetts State Schools attended. I got to meet so many people from Fitchburg, Framingham, Salem, Worcester, MCLA and MassArt and each of us were a little unique in our own way. We spoke about how we can better our school and what problems each of us were facing. They had us take a minute and talk about problems that the students feel were an issue and the only two I could really think of were parking and internet speed. Now I should probably explain those two a little bit. I think we get really spoiled going to such a small school. I learned that schools such as Worcester have parking garages (and pay $500 a semester for parking!) and have to walk a long distance to get to their dorms. One of the complaints I hear alot is that our $150 parking fee is too high and when I brought it up at the meeting, the other state schools were shocked. $500 for parking, that isn't even close? I couldn't imagine paying so much. The other problem is internet speed, although we increased our bandwidth 15%, so that problem being worked on.
I listened to the other schools talk about how many of their seniors graduate in 5 or even 6 years because they have to work multiple jobs to pay for school and can only take 3 classes and do not even live on campus. School is close to $40,000. MMA is $20, 000 and our graduates graduating 5 years is very low. Not to mention about 95% of our students live on campus and the other 5% commute from close by. Other students were having problems with job placement. MMA has by far the highest job placement out of any Massachusetts state school close to 85% within 6 months of graduation and in this economic downfall, where even shipping is not doing so great, our graduates are getting hired. It really made me proud to be from MMA.
We also met with Rep. Sean Garballey (D-Arlington) who is the House Chairman of the Public Higher Education Caucus and spoke with him about how important it is for Massachusetts to invest in higher education. On top of meeting with Mr. Garballey, we spoke with Ed Adelman who is the Executive Director of the Mass. State College Building Authority about the investments and renovations the MSCBA has made to each of our campus'. What a great time to be enrolled at a Massachusetts State College, and that's coming from a Jersey Girl!