While on a tour of colleges in Ohio, I made a stop at Ohio Wesleyan University to have a look around. OWU is a nice mix of both the liberal arts and professional education on a relatively small, intimate campus in Delaware, Ohio.
OWU is known to be something of a party school, and its Greek life (fraternity and sorority life) is very strong. However, it’s unfair to single out Ohio Wesleyan as somehow more of a party school than any other campus in America. Opportunities to get drunk, do drugs, and otherwise misbehave exist at all colleges and universities.
The issue is more about the choices one makes while in college. Some kids–even at the so-called party schools–are making excellent choices and are focused on their education. And just because an individual student drinks now and then does not mean that he or she is not serious about academics. The college years are a time of figuring out priorities, of trying to understand what it means to be an adult. For better or worse, alcohol plays a central role in that exploration.
I stopped to record this short video on the subject. Have a look.
If you prefer, you may read the transcript below.
I’m here right now on the campus of Ohio Wesleyan University. This is a Methodist – traditionally Methodist university in Delaware, Ohio, which is just north of Columbus. Ohio Wesleyan University is a nice mix of the Liberal Arts, and Business, and Pre-Professional Education; about 2,000 students, so it’s a very nice, intimate, little campus.
Ohio Wesleyan has a reputation of being a party school, and it’s true that it has a very important fraternity and sorority program of Greek life here, and the administration is often trying to rein the Greek system in and make sure that the alcohol use is under control. But I think it would be unfair to say that Ohio Wesleyan is a party school. I think pretty much every campus in America is a party school in one way or another. There are some where alcohol plays a relatively minor role, but really any campus is going to have alcohol available.
So, for the student who makes good choices – I think that’s what we have to think about when we’re thinking about party schools, is, are students prepared and able to make good choices once they arrive on a college campus? Now, if a student is unable to make those choices and is turned loose, shall we say, on a campus, whether it’s Ohio Wesleyan or any other university campus in America, yes, they’re going to make some bad choices, and end up getting fined and maybe put on probation, as Ohio Wesleyan sometimes does. But really, if you make good choices, if you remember that college is about your education and not just about the partying, then you’re going to get a great education at a place like Ohio Wesleyan.
Now, opportunities are terrific. There are small class-sizes, really good relationships with professors. The opportunities are here. But the opportunities also are here for getting into trouble, so that’s really the case at any college campus.
As you’re making choices about which school, yes, you can decide whether you want the Greek system or whether you don’t want the Greek system, but what you really need to decide is, how are you going to stay on track academically and achieve your goals educationally, so that that will propel you into your future?