WPU: Does size matter?

William Peace University Sign located outside the campus.

William Peace University is a school on the rise.
Statistics show a record number of applications coming in from high school students to attend the University.
This is my first semester here at Peace. I came mostly because I was impressed with the Communication program and the fact the school requires internships before graduation.
One thing that takes some getting used to is WPU’s small size. There are fewer majors and fewer activities compared to the larger surrounding schools. That brings out the question, could Peace’s size and lack of activities hurt retention?
Reviews seemed to be mixed. Some students love the small size and the quality of the activities offered.
WPU psychology major Caroline Mansfield said she enjoys the campus events.
“I like the activities because it gives me something to do,” she said.
Other students feel the campus events need to be improved. “Some of the activities they do around here are too much like high school,” said WPU student Mary Huynh. “Stuff like Spring Formal, Spirit Week and Fall Cocktail. We’re too old for all that.”
Some students say they feel that the things they were told before coming to Peace were not accurate. “A lot of the things they showed us at Pacer Camp, we don’t see any of it,” said Amber Thompson, a WPU freshman. “The extracurricular activities they said would be here like dance teams and sororities still aren’t here, and the size of the dorm rooms aren’t what they told us.”
But Lara Lee King, Director of Student Activities, says the extracurricular activities are up and running. “We do have a dance team called Defying Gravity, which meets twice a week. Students should check campus email updates regularly.” King continued, “Students were also given the chance to stay in one of our rooms on campus during Pacer Camp before they started classes.”
The Student Activities Center encourages students to help shape the offerings. “Students are always welcomed to come in and give opinions and ideas on what type of events and activities they want to see on campus here at Peace,” said King.
In terms of the academic offerings, WPU administrators say that they recognize that they must adapt to the new coed system at Peace. “We are evaluating what students need for the future and what programs we need in the future,” said Dr. Ann Denlinger, Vice President for Academic Affairs. “In the next two to five years we will be adding more majors as well as expanding on the ones we offer now. Sports management will be offered starting in the fall, and Criminal Justice is being planned as we speak.”
As for the size of the campus, I myself wish it were a little bigger, and so do some of the students. As a big time sports fan, walking in and seeing how small the gym is can be a little depressing. “Our gym needs to be bigger,” said Amber Thompson. “My high school gym wasn’t even that small.”
Because of the campus’ size, some students say they will go over to NC State and hang out, for example. And if you’re always off your campus, you’re not going to care about what’s going on at your own school. I love meeting new people, and at bigger colleges you can almost meet a new friend everyday of your college career. The small campus environment is great for classes, but can be a disadvantage socially.
The Student Government Association says it is currently working on a comprehensive poll to help gauge what the student body is interested in and help guide social events and extracurricular programs at the University.

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