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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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Editorial: Preserving Stony Brook’s reputation, while also growing a sense of student community

11,224 football fans came out to watch Stony Brook's homecoming game against the Bryant Bulldogs on Oct. 5, 2013. (NINA LIN / THE STATESMAN)
Student pride at Homecoming took many forms, including face and body painting (NINA LIN / THE STATESMAN)

It would be hard to argue that this year’s Homecoming celebration was not a success. With record-breaking attendance, Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium was filled with students, alumni and other Seawolves fans who were there to support their team, and almost all were wearing red.

Our university is now in a fairly unique situation: Stony Brook University is a well-known research center with professors at the top of their fields, but a significant portion of state funds and student fees have been used to grow the university’s athletics program — money which some believe should instead be spent on the research that originally put the school on the map.

As Stony Brook University continues to invest in new facilities to improve athletics programs, there needs to be a balance not only between research and athletics, but also on the accomplishments of all the departments on campus.

Stony Brook University prides itself on the strides it has made in scientific research, from the invention of the MRI to recent research on avian brain development.

Now, with the growing athletics program, we hope the accompanying sports culture does not grow to define our university. From numerous examples at other great institutions, we have seen that student culture can quickly define a university and push academic accomplishments into the shadows.

Though Dartmouth is a prestigious Ivy league college, it is infamous for student binge drinking. The reputation of a well-respected university is tainted by stereotypical college activities. School spirit is a wonderful thing, but it can get out of hand.

As the athletic culture at SBU grows, there needs to be a similar effort to promote other aspects of this university. As our ranking steadily increases, so should the importance of all academic departments.

The humanities are constantly at the center of debate because of both the size of the program and the lack of focus it receives. Hopefully, that will soon change. Last week, President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. promised $1 million in grants for the Humanities Department in his annual State of the University Address.

Having the reputation as both an academically and athletically strong school is extremely beneficial to the university, and it is up to both the students and the administration of SBU to ensure that one side of this dual-natured state of being does not take precedence over the other.

We are excited to see the school grow academically and in spirit. We hope it keeps going the way it is going, with both the quality of academics and athletics increasing equally.

The Homecoming events this weekend heightened the sense of community around our campus. It was refreshing to see such a large number of students come together to celebrate their school in an, unfortunately, all-too-rare occurrence.

We hope that as the athletics department grows, so too does that sense of community. After all, what are the accomplishments of a school worth without a proud student body to support them?

Sincerely-

The Editorial Board

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    The Voice of ReasonOct 8, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    Good luck expecting a sense of community to grow at a university where 2/3 of the students go home on the weekends and nobody cares about anything.

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