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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Extra! Stony Brook students aren’t actually unhappy…

    Over five years ago, the Princeton Review released a report that stated Stony Brook University ranked fairly high as one of the nation’s top “unhappiest schools.” I had never heard this before I arrived on this campus as a freshman in the fall of 2006 and unfortunately, may have even believed it on individual occasions throughout that first school year. Looking back, I’m allowing experience and perspective to take the lead on how I feel about this university today and all that it has given me for over five years.

    Back then, the campus might have been empty on weekends, the food slightly worse (only slightly), and hardly anyone on campus knew what a Seawolf was.While I cannot say for certain that this statistic has improved according to the Princeton Review’s standards, I still feel as though this information is outdated for today’s average student and will continue to be more and more irrelevant as time goes on. This means that referring back to the report is childish, disrespectful to the university and incorrect in any and all assumptions it may imply about our school. So, what’s changed in five years that leads me to believe Stony Brook students are happier now (assuming Princeton Review was right in the first place). Look at what’s been done on campus with initiatives by the administration with the help and support of various student organizations on campus.

    Students have pride in their university, school colors, sporting events, concerts, mascots, residence halls and research that’s been done here for decades. Personally, I’ve never been one for vocalizing my school spirit but it’s not as if I haven’t heard the chanting at the games, seen the blatant wearing of red all around campus, and witnessed how excited people get just to take a picture with Wolfie who, if you compare him to other school’s mascots, isn’t as creepy or weird.

    The fact that athletics have improved is simply one of the reasons happiness has increased across campus. Let’s not forget winning six Homecoming games in a row, a lacrosse team that was top ten in the nation and a basketball team that takes one step closer each year to a division championship are fairly impressive feats. Yearly traditions such as Roth Regatta, Earthstock, and the many impressive concerts (call them whatever you like from Brookfest to the Concert Series, they’re still the same event) have also gotten bigger and better along with some new traditions strictly created by students such as the random flash mobs, Quidditch and Humans vs. Zombies.

    The truth is, the major change in the last few years are the students that don’t want to settle for going to a university with even a few unhappy students and for that, they should be applauded. Organizations like the Red Zone, the marching band, USG, RHA, CSA, and every other acronym on campus are filled with students who actually give a damn about this school and try make things better for everyone, not just themselves.

    Being a student who’s been here for over five years doesn’t mean I’m biased in this opinion, it simply means I have witnessed what these students are trying to do every year and I’m still amazed at how far they’ve pushed the limit in a few short years.  We cannot let this negative stereotype about our campus continue to shift our perceptions in a way that undermines what the organizations, administration and regular students of this university are trying to accomplish everyday for the benefit of the everyone. I’m not writing this as an after-school special to use the successes of the last five years to overshadow the obvious negatives of budget cuts, faculty downsizing, and major construction projects everywhere you turn. I just think holding on to the belief that this campus has “unhappy” students is detrimental to the overall atmosphere seen at this school every week. No one is saying we’re the happiest campus in the nation and that’s fine, the point is that we have come a long way since empty residence halls on weekends to full stadiums during Homecoming. That says something about the current administration and the students that are actually empowered to make a difference, not just complain about the statistics.

    If you don’t like this university, your opinion matters just as much as the student brimming with Stony Brook pride, but don’t just fall back on the idea that Stony Book students are unhappy simply because the “Princeton Review said so.” Do something about it and if you don’t want to, then please transfer, there are plenty of students that would love to take your place.

    It might be true that disliking certain aspects of a school can bring students together but at a certain point, students are responsible for their own happiness and need to account for the fact that there’s only so much the university can do but believe me, the spectrum of opportunity toactually change this place for the better increases year after year.

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