On behalf of all Portland State students, we would like to welcome our new university president, Wim Wiewel. Wiewel’s arrival on campus brings about an array of notions, including hope for the future, expectations and questions pertaining to where this university is headed and when it will arrive there.
On behalf of all Portland State students, we would like to welcome our new university president, Wim Wiewel.
Wiewel’s arrival on campus brings about an array of notions, including hope for the future, expectations and questions pertaining to where this university is headed and when it will arrive there.
In his third week on the job, Wiewel already announced the largest donation in Portland State history, a $25 million grant from the Miller Foundation to promote sustainability and hopefully make the university a world leader in the field.
This announcement gave Wiewel a chance to demonstrate that he is composed and affable–characteristics of a good leader. He appears to be more personable then previous presidents and reaches out to the student body more than the others, too.
With that said, this is an exciting time for Portland State.
Wiewel is the eighth president of our university, meaning just seven other student bodies in Portland State’s long history have had the honor and privilege of ushering in a new president.
And with that honor and privilege comes the responsibility for us, the students of this proud institution, to ensure Wiewel and those who surround him shape this university into the place that we would like it to be. At the reception following the grant announcement this past Wednesday, Wiewel handed out his final and most sincere thanks to the students, stating that without us the $25 million gift would not be possible or even meaningful.
That is the truth.
Wiewel is a man confident that he knows where he would like to take Portland State, despite the fact that he has not laid out a specific plan and has instead addressed particular areas he would like to target.
Considering Wiewel promotes a sense of community on campus, the students need to collaborate with him to help him construct his objectives and realize his goals.
Even without a clear-cut game plan, Wiewel has already expressed that he would like our university to become a model for sustainable institutions. And the $25 million cannot hurt that pursuit.
Sustainability is becoming increasingly significant in the world and Wiewel’s plans to make Portland State a leader in the field can only help raise the university’s profile, which is definitely something most students would like to see.
But we caution Wiewel that with all of this talk of sustainability he does not lose sight of other ways to improve the university.
How will his changes help that English major that works two jobs and commutes to campus? What will he do to make the Portland State experience better for the single mother of three? What does he have in store for the frazzled freshman that chose Portland State over Oregon’s other fine universities?
We worry that with a fresh influx of students, pushing enrollment to over 27,000, class sizes will continue to grow when they desperately need to shrink.
We fear that with the focus squarely on promoting sustainability from an ideological standpoint, areas of campus that are far from environmentally friendly–such as the lack of showers in many housing buildings or the mistreatment of chemical waste–will be forgotten.
We think Portland State should continue to become more of a community and less of a place to simply take classes.
We know this is a great opportunity to change this university for the better.
And we believe that with the support of the students Wiewel is the right person to make these changes to move Portland State forward.