May 21, 2004
Nothing to Do in Cowhill
I came to the Texas A&M-Commerce campus in the fall of 2005. The university itself has an enrollment of about 8,000, though I understand that number includes students who don't actually have classes on this campus. Commerce (formerly known as Cowhill) has a population of about 8,500. Thus, it is a relatively small campus and town (though it's bigger than Wolfe City!). It's not really a surprise, then, that I have heard from more than one student that they find little, if nothing, to do for entertainment. They explain that there is one movie theater with questionable acoustics, a downtown that has gradually declined to nearly nothing, two restaurants with bars, a few restaurants without bars, and a few fast-food restaurants such as McDonald's and Sonic. And there's always Wal-Mart. Most students I've talked with in the past are happy with the university's learning environment, but they believe the university and the town could actually offer more for students. Thus, I recently interviewed two students who live on campus to find out what they believed the university and town could do to make living in this area more appealing.
Angie, 19 and a criminal justice major, is a freshman who lives in one of the residence halls. She spent most of her life in the Dallas area and went to a large high school. In fact, she explained that she thought her "high school was bigger than the university." She also told me that it was a real culture shock moving here because "there was always something to do in Dallas-lots of theaters, great restaurants, the lake, festivals. You know, interesting places to go. And even if we didn't want to do anything much, we could go to the mall." She continued by explaining that "Here, though, it's a different story. There's nothing to do. The closest mall is in Greenville, and it's not much. And I can't afford to go to Dallas very often because gas is so high." She admitted that she did go to "typical" college parties and had lots of fun there, but she also explained, "there's only so many parties, and they're all the same after awhile." She went on to tell me that she went to the rec center several times a week. I'm not sure if she was serious but she told me, "I'm going to do that rock climbing thing once I get over my fear of heights." She also noted that she takes advantage of the exercise equipment. "I'm not crazy about the pool, but I'm really surprised that this university has that nice of a rec center," she explained.
Working out at the rec center and going to parties, however, only take up so much time, so we talked about how the environment could be improved here. One of the first things she suggested . . . .
Angie. Personal interview. 5 April 2004.
(If you were using both names, the last name would come first, then the first name.)