Staff Editorial

Our student body is composed of roughly 11 percent international students, with about twice that many from the East and West Coasts of the U.S. The Midwest is by far the largest demographic group represented on campus, for reasons that are quite obvious. But there are crucial differences in the way students from different places hear about Lawrence and decide to apply. Someone from Chicago may have spoken to a Lawrence representative who visited his or her high school, while someone from Washington state may have made a special trip to Seattle for an interview or audition, having heard of Lawrence from a private college counselor. Certainly it takes much more for students from other parts of the country or the world to decide to come to Lawrence.
The recruitment process at Lawrence is one which takes into consideration many factors, not least of which is how likely it is that students from a certain area will show interest in Lawrence. Sending representatives across the country is no small financial burden, and it is best to make the trips as effective as possible -therefore, while a representative traveling in the Midwest may visit dozens of high schools, one on the West Coast would make just a handful of appearances, in places where he or she can make contact with a gathering of interested students from a number of high schools. These sorts of measures are pragmatic necessities.
Still, we ask for a little more confidence from the Lawrence administration. No one predicted that Lawrence had the appeal to draw a significant number of international students. Not so long ago, a number of students from other countries began to enroll at Lawrence, and the international community here has since become a highly valued part of our school. How many more students would be interested in Lawrence but are not familiar with our university? Of course Appleton is not the most vibrant city in the world. But certain aspects of Lawrence, such as the small student body, a safe and calm atmosphere, and the rare combination of a conservatory and liberal arts college offer a unique blend of characteristics that are unavailable in other parts of the country.
As the administration focuses on improving the atmosphere and opportunities at Lawrence, we hope that they will also focus on marketing Lawrence to a diverse group of students. While reaching out to students in other parts of the country and the world can be a financial risk, it could yield unprecedented rewards. When people are willing to come from far away to experience something, it makes everyone who is part of that experience value it more. Increased geographical diversity would lift the Lawrence community’s morale, as well as adding vibrancy and dimension to the learning environment.