Words by Cassie Skoras
Art by Connie Zhou
Isolated within home colleges, students feel unwanted by peers when they enter a school other than their own.
Syracuse University — a place where thousands of diverse students mix together to become one body. It’s this diversity that makes us unique as students and as a school. We blend together on a daily basis, mixing various skills and assets. Now, I’m not talking about diverse religions, races, or ethnicities, but rather our academic assortment; our home colleges.
Yeah, you heard me, those home colleges, those small niche schools that make up SU. Whether you are in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, the School of Architecture, or the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications (the longer the name, the higher the school’s students hold their noses), you feel a little strange walking into a building other than your own. It’s not your home base, your safehouse, the building where you meet and greet all your friends. I’m sure you know the feeling all too well. It’s happened to everyone who ventures outside their little box. It’s that gut feeling: you just don’t belong.
The problem is we don’t talk about it.
“How we view each other from school to school is a mess of stereotypes and groupings that lie on the surface and simply aren’t erased.”
Each school is amazing in its own way, from the art classrooms, to the science labs, to the team rooms, and everywhere in between. Unfortunately, we all know that within each college, there lies a particular stereotype.
You’ve got Whitman, the almighty business school. It sits across from Starbucks, which becomes every Whitman student’s holy grail between classes. The inhabitants hang out in the atrium, discussing, well, nothing, and their four-story space becomes more of a social scene than an academic spot.
Across campus sits Slocum, the architecture school. This college is filled with overworked, over-dressed, and over-stressed soon-to-be architects (“soon” being after a five year program, three years of interning, and about a million board exams). It’s the architects who pack the computer lab at four in the morning, calling it an “early” night. Most end up in hospitals not because of partying too hard, but due to accidents in the wood shop. But Slocum isn’t the only building jam-packed with kids and their egos.
Newhouse, or the school that’s so important it needs three buildings, is filled with students living in food.com and discussing how amazing their lives will be after they graduate from the mother of all communication schools. But that is why if someone like me, a VPA student in Communications Design, were to walk into the golden space of food.com, I’d feel unwanted. I would be noticed not only by the faculty and staff, but also by my peers, who do call themselves Syracuse students — but always Newhouse students first.
How we view each other from school to school is a mess of stereotypes and groupings that lie on the surface and simply aren’t erased. We forget to look past the egos, signs of tiredness, and trendy clothes that set us apart. The problem of school segregation is so prevalent within Syracuse, it’s actually ridiculous. Transitioning from once living in Slocum (yes, the architecture building), and flying the coop into Communications Design (part of VPA, NOT Newhouse), I know the feeling of walking into a building and not being a part of the school’s community. But why do we live by our school’s name first, and Syracuse’s second? Maybe we really are just too comfortable at our home bases. But Orange Nation consists of all of us, whether we are throwing clay on a wheel, learning to become the next entrepreneur, or TRF-ing basically everything in life. Diversity is a great concept, but it’s only great when we actually embrace it, instead of using it as a barrier. Of course, there are real walls that separate us into our smaller colleges, but come on, people, we don’t need to judge one another if we take a magazine class in Newhouse just to further our education in Communications Design.
There is no start or end to this problem, but a realization we must reach. If we all stand together as one, wearing the ridiculous orange that looks good on absolutely no one, how is it that we cannot embrace one another as students, as one Syracuse University?