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Monday, February 4, 2008

OH - IO!!


How about some statistical analysis this fine Monday morning? Jim Tressel looks eexcited.

Ohio State university sociologist, Kent Schwirian summarizes the results of an OSU study of the relationship between where students live and their grade point average and the time they take to graduate.

Percent graduating in four years:
* Walking distance 60.8%
* Near campus 47.5%
* Rest of county 36.7%
* Outside of county 21.1%

Grade point average:
* Residence hall 3.33
* Walking distance 3.16
* Near campus 3.12
* Rest of county 2.97
* Outside of county 2.94

These statistics are so interesting to me. I imagine there are tens of reasons for these numbers, and I imagine some of them to be common sense. The closer you live the less time you spend in commute. If you live on campus you will encounter more conversations of classroom material. If you live outside of the country there may be a language barrier thus making it harder for your to translate Thomas Friendman’s economic jibber jabber. If you live on campus there is a greater chance that mommy and daddy are paying your way…and you don’t want to make mommy and daddy mad do you?

There are many plausible reasons for these statistics.

However, I think the results can boil down to the inevitable connection found between proximity and community.

Students living on or around campus are likely to hang out with other students who are intent on graduating in four years. This introduces them to peers who have similar goals and expectations and leads to stimulating conversation that challenges one another (assuming you are sober…I went to ASU…I will never assume that any undergrad is sober).

In addition, living on or near campus, you are immersed in the total university experience. You have a shirt from each football game. You know the names of the kids of guy that works the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. You have a “reserved” seat in the library. You are experiencing the culture of the university…and the ultimate goal of university culture (other than to rob you each semester as you purchase textbooks) is to educate and encourage you as you enter the “real world”.

I wonder what it means to apply these statistics outside of this study. Personally, I am challenged by the ideal of community around proximity. What would it mean to truly localize my actions? What would it look like for the Church to focus on a 2 mile radius rather than sending out a city wide mailer? And like OSU, would localizing actions lead to greater buy in and participation?

And just so you know…I lived fifteen minutes from campus and graduated in four years. Smilie.

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Jordan Lane Shappell said...

hey, sorry i didnt call you tonight, but i will call you tomorrow or Ill actually comment on this blog....

Derrick Fudge said...

Brilliant thoughts on focusing right next door. Why commute to church? As someone who always wants my friends and community close, this is another encouragement.

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