West Virginia University is more than a party school..

by elizabethshae

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Photo via @westvirginiau. Photo by @xxalfreyxx

Another party school ranking is out and it’s no surprise that my social media newsfeed was spammed by people posting the results that West Virginia University topped the list.

For years, I have watched people post these articles and flaunt it as if it’s something to be proud of. These articles make my heart crumble. I always look at images of outrageous parties knowing that there is so much more depth to West Virginia University than alcohol, half naked girls, house parties, bars fights, twerking, and clubs. I’d even go as far to bet that WVU is more than that to most of the people posting these articles.

When I reflect on my time at WVU, of course I see a few typical parties in my past… what college student doesn’t? But for me, my memories of WVU aren’t waking up every morning with a hangover like the media likes to portray. No, instead, I remember waking up and grabbing breakfast at Hatfields before class and drinking their watered-down lattes. I remember passing Woodburn on my way to class and admiring the way it still managed to gleam with radiance on any particularly gloomy, rainy day. I remember spending hours in the J school crafting news stories in a lab full of shiny Mac computers. I remember waiting in endless lines at the Mountainlair for dinner with friends and enjoying touchdown tosses at football games. I remember watching the women’s soccer team win Big East and Big 12 titles and watching a talented dance team become national champs year after year. And I remember WVU Football going against all odds and defeating Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl under Coach Stewart and let’s not forget squashing Clemson in the Orange Bowl.  I remember enjoying conversations with professors who encouraged me to be the best I can be. I remember working out in one of the best student rec centers in the country. I remember starting my own student organization and landing the internship of my dreams at a national office… And when I remember these things, I have this unfathomable pride to be a Mountaineer. I know, without a doubt, that feeling is not just unique to me. We all know that feeling..

Yet, when I graduated last May and was interviewed for job opportunities, I was still asked about my school’s party reputation. They saw the Osama Bin Laden riots, they saw the “I’m Shmacked” videos, they know the reputation of our men’s head football and basketball coaches, and they saw our student section throw a quarter and hit Pitt’s assistant basketball coach. I was forced to answer to things I had no part in.. things that many of us didn’t have a part in.

It sucks to sit and watch a university you love be degraded to such a low status. I even once overheard someone from out of state make the argument, “If you don’t want to party, don’t come to college here then.” Talk about disgusting? I didn’t realize I couldn’t go to the college in MY HOME STATE that I admired wide-eyed from childhood. West Virginia University was my dream school. It’s the only school I applied to and NOT for partying’s sake. Growing up, I bled blue and gold. I knew that this University held so much academic and professional promise for me. I knew there was no other school for me.

When you pull back the rotten exterior layers from West Virginia University’s appearance, there you will discover a rich, ripe campus producing more than just broken beer bottles, neon lights, and empty gallons of liquor.

West Virginia University is a place of endless possibilities that fosters success and helps turn dreams into reality and it’s time we start showcasing it as the nationally competitive university that it could be. Please stop sharing our party school ratings and share something worth exhibiting to America..Oh, I don’t know.. maybe like Katherine Bomcamp, WVU student featured in Glamour Magazine as a Top 10 College Woman of 2013.

Let’s help show off what it means to really be a Mountaineer.

Once a Mountaineer, Always a Mountaineer.

Sincerely,

Proud Alum Shae Snyder

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