“Bradley…WTF?!” (What’s the Facts)

I find it to be amazing that in our day and age a column for a collegiate publication can be written remotely, digitally dropped into an email, and sent hundreds of miles back to our campus. All of this from a device no different in size than a deck of playing cards. We truly live in an exciting time.

However, regardless of how exciting life may seem, I find myself sitting in the Convention Center in Charlotte, N.C., struggling to select a specific Bradley perplexity to delve into and dissect. Now don’t think for moment that I have exhausted all of my options (heck I haven’t even touched Heitz Hall, but neither had the university for a half century.) My lack of analytical criticism can

only be explained by a realization I have stumbled upon while in Charlotte.

I am here for the National Association for Campus Activities’ annual national conference, with thousands of student leaders from across the country, including seven representing Bradley University from Activities Council of Bradley University and Late Night BU.

Our four-day stint in Charlotte has provided opportunities for our delegation to network with other student leaders, swap stories, share solutions and scout talented acts to bring back to our campus. Between the guitar-strumming singers and creative comedians, we have endured hours of co-curricular education sessions and demanding personal development seminars.

It was in one of these sessions where I came across something that has been bugging me ever since. Each week I write this column on an interesting tidbit about our campus, traditionally revolving around Bradley’s history. However, never once have I taken a step back to look at our whole campus.

I learned in one of my sessions that the word ‘campus’ in English is derived from the Latin word meaning ‘a flat place, field.’ What do you think of when you think of Bradley’s campus? Most likely much more than just the dirt on Olin Quad. It seems, at least at Bradley, the term ‘campus’ has become interchangeable with the word ‘community.’

Every facet of life falls under this community concept equally. Academics, residential life, student activities, athletics, food service, the arts, the students, the faculty, the administration and staff, friends, colleagues, the facilities and yes, even the smelly trees. Our campus is so much more than just a grassy field, but a flourishing family, full of blessings and blemishes.

If I have learned anything during my time at NACA it is that we are very blessed to be at Bradley.

Yes Bradley has its quirks, oddities and sometimes downright idiosyncrasies, but overall, we are lucky to be a part of the community today. After hearing other campus’ complaints and challenges, it has become quite clear that Bradley students are very fortunate.

We are fortunate to have proficient and talented student leaders from Greek life to Student Government and from the basketball court to the classroom. We have outstanding academic faculty members, along with some of the best student affairs, administrative, health and athletic staffs in the industries. Our campus has the resources to let us reach for our dream, and as students we are encouraged to do so. Most importantly growth and learning is equally emphasized both with classic in-class curriculum and outside with co-curricular involvement in leadership and student organizations.

As I listen to my iPod, hundreds of miles away from our campus, I marvel at everything we have been provided and the opportunities we have to grow. NACA is a great example. So is the Markin Center, our student organizations, our sports teams, our facilities, and on a personal level, our own individual financial aid. I encourage you take some time this week to look around campus and think about what you’re thankful for.

For me it’s easy. The thing I am the most thankful for is that the Bradley campus supports and encourages my curiosity, and continues to allow me to ask… Bradley, WTF?