Saturday, October 15, 2005
Living in Ohio
One of the things that is fascinating about the world we live in is how different our experiences can be. My family lives in Oxford, OH, USA, which is a very small town of about 15,000 people. The size doubles when the 17,000 students at Miami University are in town. This is truly a college town that is dominated by the enthusiasm and youthfulness of students during the academic year. Oxford permanent residents are ambivalent about students because, when they are here, they can take over the place. The fact is, we all benefit from students - economically, socially, culturally, and in all other ways. I've been in education for 30+ years because I enjoy students. I guess that's why even the minor annoyances of student behavior don't bother me a great deal. I figure that the community benefits so much from them that we shouldn't complain.
Oxford sprung up around the creation of Miami University in the 1820s. When established, the University was a frontier college but hosted in its early days one of the largest student populations of any in the country. The history of the University is full of firsts - including the creation of many fraternities and the creation of extracurricular life. In an age where intensely focused residential education is becoming unusual, Miami stands as an institution that provides deep engagement opportunities for students. This level of engagement is recognized consistently as one of its primary distinguishing characteristics.