Our Opinion: The Real Emory

For the new students on campus, here is our take on life at Emory – one that may not be tinted with rose-colored glasses. We at the Wheel ruminated on our combined experiences and came up with five facts about life at Emory that we believe capture the University’s essence honestly and accurately.

  1. Everyone has bad days, and someone is always willing to listen

No one starts college knowing exactly where they fit in or what they want from their time at school. Perhaps you’ve been feeling homesick, or you feel like everyone around you is having a blast without you. There’s no shame in admitting that stepping out of your comfort zone can be scary and, yes, sometimes it won’t feel great. The only constant of college is change. For when you inevitably do have a bad day or two, the Emory community is teeming with amazing support groups with peers excited and enthusiastic about lending a helping hand. Residence Life boasts a cadre of students whose main purpose is to help new students get acclimated. Counseling and Psychology Services (CAPS) and Emory Helpline function as offer confidential mental health advising. Student organizations such as cultural groups, dance teams, advocacy groups, and sports teams, among others become many students’ second families. The Division of Campus Life has offices, such as the Offices of Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender Life, Sorority & Fraternity Life, Multicultural Programs & Services and the Center for Women, for a variety of student needs. As University President James W. Wagner has said, there is never a reason to have to go through something alone at Emory.

  1. Emory is diverse, and we need to talk about it

Emory is certainly not shy about touting its diverse student body. The Class of 2019 comes from all over the United States, more than 40 countries and various different backgrounds. We have learned to address our shortcomings and held campus-wide conversations that needed to happen, but we could do better. The campus has organized around gender issues and race issues but there is still a lot of work to be done. Also, as a community, we struggle with conversations surrounding class. Our students come from a variety of class backgrounds, but discussing this reality can be tricky and uncomfortable. Many Emory students overlook the class issue because it isn’t as visible on campus as other identity issues. We have written about this in the past, and will continue to raise this issue and hope to see others become active in ensuring that our campus is welcoming to all students.

  1. Sexual assault is a problem here just like everywhere else

Emory is one of  55 higher education institutions being investigated for compliance with Title IX – a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. Like at every other college campus, sexual assault, sexualized violence and sexual harassment  take place at Emory. Emory’s administration has taken some measures to improve its response to sexual assault, such as ongoing efforts from the Respect Program, recruiting a faculty task force, reviewing Title IX compliance and consulting student groups such as Feminists in Action (FIA) and Sexual Assault Peer Advocates (SAPA). There has been an attempt to change the campus culture and dialogue surrounding sexual assault and rape culture on the part of the administration and student body. But at the end of the day, the students at a university set the tone for its culture. We at the Wheel want to reiterate our support for these efforts and our commitment to spreading  awareness of the importance of consent. We also highly encourage the continuation of activism and these conversations, and we would love to see new students get involved.

  1. There’s more to Emory social life than Greek Life

Greek Life is a thriving and vivacious part of Emory’s social life with about a third of students participating but it’s not for everyone. If you find yourself feeling that Greek Life is not your cup of tea, there are a variety of other ways to spend your free time. The city of Atlanta has a lot to offer, of course, but more importantly, Emory students have a million and a half hobbies and interests that they pursue whenever they’re not in class. There are more than 350 organizations at Emory that hold events Thursdays through Sundays. Give it time, and you will find your social scene.

  1. We are privileged to be here

Everyone at Emory could probably name something they would change about the University. But everyone here is privileged to be at a place where the faculty is superb, resources are abundant and the opportunities are endless. The physical facilities on campus, such as the Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Book Library (MARBL), the Michael C. Carlos Museum and the Woodruff Physical Education Center (WoodPEC), are unparalleled. Emory provides academic and career counseling and a diversity of majors and classes.  Moreover, many guest speakers and performances  are free for students. Attending a school that is both ethically engaged and deeply concerned with students’ mental and social wellbeing is nothing to scoff at, and we can’t think of a better place to spend four years.

The above staff editorial represents the majority opinion of the Wheel‘s editorial board. 

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