Hannah Hanlon, Staff Writer
Enrollment at the Armstrong campus of Georgia Southern has declined 12.3 percent from 2017 to 2018, according to the Statesboro Herald, and students on campus attribute it to limited academic offerings as well as the lack of campus life.
Visitors and students alike find the Armstrong campus to be attractive in the way it envelops the allure of its host city, Savannah. Despite being in charming Savannah, the small campus seems to be losing its appeal.
“We need something to bring people in to the campus, because it’s not only killing admissions in getting people here, it’s killing Greek life,” said Tyler Craft, a military veteran and aspiring mechanical engineer. Craft enrolled in fall 2017 right before the merger.
“What does this campus have other than that it’s in Savannah?”
The discontinuing of athletics has played a major part in the enrollment decline. Prior to the consolidation, Armstrong offered scholarships as an extra incentive for international athlete students to attend. The lack of an official athletics program has played a part in the decline of student residence on campus.
It is worth noting that a student sports fee goes to busing Armstrong campus students out to the Statesboro campus for sporting events. However, it has been reported and then later stated within a previous Inkwell story that this facility has been underutilized. On one occasion, only two students used the shuttle service last semester.
Along with this complaint, were several others.
Half of Windward Commons is now empty.
Some students also feel that their chosen majors are being choked out.
“My degree (Mechanical Engineering) isn’t here anymore,” said Craft. “They’ve already choked out a lot of IT degrees. They got rid of all of them and sent them to Georgia Southern,” he elaborated.
Another concern emphasized the declining male Greek life.
“Most of the degrees here are geared more towards the healthcare industry, and it’s predominantly more female than male, so it’s actually sucking the male Greek life out of here,” Craft continued.
“I have fraternity brothers who are no longer going to be on this campus, because they can’t actively participate in the fraternity they joined.”
According to an email from marketing representative, John Lester, Georgia Southern Interim Vice President for Strategic Communications, research is underway to help give insight into why students do or do not come to Georgia Southern along with plans to develop a strategic enrollment plan.
“This strategic enrollment plan, implemented and empowered across all institutional partners, will ensure that we do not find ourselves in an enrollment decline again,” said Lester.
Despite the current lack of amenities and course offerings, the solution has yet to be found for how the university plans to draw in more students to the Armstrong campus. Though, the university administration is actively searching for a solution.
Going forward, the challenge for the university will be how to overcome that barrier as well the disparity between the cultures of the two universities.