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This is a guest blog that I wrote for the prominent education blog e-Literate. It contains my opinion about how the creation of California State University's Online Concurrent Enrollment Program was handled on my home campus, Sonoma State University.
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This is an opinion article that I wrote for my student newspaper about online higher education. It was published in the paper and quoted on e-Literate.
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A lot of young kids look up to their dads and consider them to be heroes. Sonoma State University student Kelly Sullenberger belongs in that category, but the only difference is that the rest of the country agrees with her.
In January of 2009, US Airways Flight 1549 landed in the middle of the Hudson River in New York. The plane had hit a flock of birds, which caused both of the engines to become disabled, according to New York Daily News.
What could have been a tragedy turned into a story of heroism and bravery thanks to Sullenberger’s father, pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger III. He landed the plane in the river with zero fatalities.
On the day of the landing, Sullenberger was picked up from school early by her mother, who told her the news of what had happened.
“She said he was okay, but I immediately started crying, because ‘okay’ can mean a lot of things,” said Sullenberger.. “It can mean not dead or it can mean perfect condition.”
Sullenberger III had been a pilot long before his daughter was born, so the risks associated with his profession rarely crossed her mind. She only ever began to fear for his safety after the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
After hearing what had happened, the risks become all too real.
While she was filled with pride at what her father had accomplished, she had almost lost her father that day. The country celebrated the landing and nicknamed her father the ‘Hero on the Hudson,’ but it took a while for her family to celebrate.
After the story of the accident spread, life for the Sullenberger family changed drastically.
“My sister and I had to learn to mature very fast,” said Sullenberger.
She and her family were thrust into the limelight, which meant that everyday life was no longer simple.
“We were bombarded with phone calls, news trucks lined our street and we received countless offers [for appearances].”
Every time they left the house they were stopped on the street, which was a big adjustment. She and her family had to learn how to deal with these changes with grace.
However, her father’s celebrity status has had its perks. Their family was able to attend President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009 and got to meet him, whom Sullenberger said, has been one of the best experiences since the accident.
She’s gotten to travel around the world for conferences to countries like France and Australia. Her dad even got to be the Grand marshal in the Rose Parade and attend the Rose Bowl Game.
“Although all of these things have been amazing opportunities, there were many times when I just wanted to be a normal teenager,” said Sullenberger.
For this reason, she turned down the chance to appear on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” or attend the Super Bowl.
She has been able to retain some semblance of normalcy in her life. Since high school, she has loved to perform and participates in dance and drama. She is currently a freshman and is majoring in history.
Another thing that hasn’t changed for Sullenberger is her relationship with her father.
“My dad is my dad. He’s always been my hero,” said Sullenberger.
Let’s talk about the Greeks. No, I’m not referring to Alexander the Great, Aristotle, or even John Stamos. I’m talking about the ones that throw flyers at you on the Stevenson quad, who always seem to always have coordinated outfits, and who are in desperate need of a home.
As a disclaimer, I am one of those Greeks. Hopefully I didn’t lose my credibility. Just stick with me.
The subject of Greek housing has always been a big topic of discussion at Sonoma State. It’s no surprise, seeing as about 16 percent of the undergraduate population is Greek, according to U.S. News.
Many of you have probably heard the rumor that an ordinance from the city of Rohnert Park is to blame for our lack of Greek housing. The ordinance supposedly states that more than six women living in a house or apartment together is considered a brothel. Therefor, neither men nor women may have Greek houses, because it wouldn’t be fair for fraternities to have them while sororities missed out.
I’m not quite sure why no one ever researched this ordinance, as it’s such a source of outrage. However, after a conversation with Pam Stafford, the mayor of Rohnert Park, it was revealed that this ordinance is nothing but a myth. The university is actually the institution that is keeping Greek Row from becoming a reality.
I believe that having Greek housing would be beneficial to the school, the city of Rohnert Park, and members of Greek life.
After all of the commotion that the recent implementation of 120 Days, it seems obvious to address the topic of house parties. With the addition of a Greek Row, there would be a significant reduction in the amount of noise complaints filed. That frees up the police department to respond to calls of actual importance. Non-student residents of Rohnert Park wouldn’t have to worry as frequently about waking up to beer and vomit covered lawns. That could only improve the relationship between the school and the community, which I think is what we all want.
The school would also benefit from it. One way would be the freeing up of on-campus space. We have a relatively small campus with many clubs and organizations. That means we have to fight to reserve rooms. With Greek housing, most Greek events could take place off of campus grounds. That frees up rooms to be used by other clubs or for other events, thus improving the relationship between the school and Greeks.
Lastly, the members of the Greek community would benefit from having their own housing. Having a house gives members and opportunity to strengthen the bonds between each other. It would be a space that’s always open for studying, eating, events, and general bonding. I’ve heard stories from friends that are involved in Greek life at other schools that provide Greek housing, and the they almost unanimously agree that it makes the organization stronger as a whole. It would improve another relationship; it would improve the relationships between Greeks.
While I know that creating this sort of project is no easy task, I do urge the school and others to think about how Greek housing could strengthen our community in a way that doesn’t solely have to do with wanting to party without getting rolled. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they had to start somewhere.