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The growth in student population harboring a growing division between students

By Mylasia Miklas, '20

|Graph: Mylasia Miklas

Texas A&M University at Galveston has experienced exponential growth in student population within the past five years. While this growth has allowed this campus to not only provide more opportunities and resources, it has created a growing divide between students.

Although this slow growth is due to more students learning about our small campus here on Pelican Island, the implementation of the Engineering at Galveston program plays a considerable role.

The Engineering at Galveston program is the effect of the implementation of the 25 by 25 initiative. The goal of this initiative is to grow the total enrollment of engineering program to 25,000 students by the year 2025. One way this will be carried out is by hosting students in multiple off-campus locations like TAMUG.

The 25 by 25 initiative was started in 2013 in order to increase the enrollment and accessibility of the Engineering Program. As explained in a press release by Dr. M Katherine Banks, the vice chancellor of engineering and national laboratories and dean for Texas A&M University College of Engineering, the College of Engineering was rejecting applicants due to a low enrollment cap.

TAMUG partnered with TAMU in order to broaden and grow the engineering programs offered in Galveston. Additional programs such as multiple and interdisciplinary engineering and environmental engineering may potentially be implemented in the near future. This will allow students to continue their educational career at TAMUG without leaving. Potential future plans consist of providing TAMUG with buildings specifically for engineering studies in order to account for the influx of engineering students.

In the Fall 2017 semester, TAMUG experienced a record enrollment rate of 2,451 students; with the Engineering at Galveston student population included. The Engineering at Galveston population is not observed when analyzing the population of TAMUG, even though engineering students are dually enrolled. Instead the students contribute to the population on main campus.

While TAMUG experienced a record enrollment, only 1,848 undergraduate and 150 graduate students were enrolled. The addition of the 453 engineering students is what contributed to the record breaking enrollment.

While we are all Aggies at TAMUG, there continues to be a growing divide between students a part of the Engineering students and students with maritime focused majors.

Caylin Piezchala, a Junior marine biology major, believes the reason for the divide is because many feel that the program is taking advantage of the campus and the students.

“I have a heart for this campus. I enjoy the size, the atmosphere, and everything about it. I feel that the people coming in are just taking advantage of the campus until they get to where they want be, which I can understand. But this attitude pulls from the atmosphere on campus” Piezchala explained.

Students also worry that funds and attention will be put toward the engineering program. Dr. Donna Lang, Associate Vice President for Academic Operations and former student of TAMUG, wants to alleviate all of students worries.

“We are a special purpose institution dedicated to the marine and maritime fields. That is what we are held accountable to in the system of the state. At all times. If we cannot defend that, we cannot exist,” explained Dr. Lang.