The Student News Site of Chatham University

Communiqué

The Student News Site of Chatham University

Communiqué

The Student News Site of Chatham University

Communiqué

Senior Reflections: B+ School with A+ Students

Staff+member+Jackie+Clark
Staff member Jackie Clark

My beginning at Chatham University was rough. A family member went through rehab and jail when they relapsed. COVID-19 made me extremely isolated. I barely talked to anyone because most classes were on Zoom, so I was by myself in my dorm room listening to music, studying for exams to distract me from my anxieties and worries. However, I was fortunate to have met my friends that have supported me throughout my time at Chatham. 

Makenzie Galley ‘23 is a badass who has always had my back, and she has inspired me to have more boundaries with anyone who disrespects me. Emi Perdan ‘23 is a powerhouse of a woman who has excelled at Chatham and will continue to do so afterward. Lindsay Perrone ‘23 is my personal cheerleader with her endearing personality that makes me feel confident and loved. Other friends that I have made were in my criminology courses, the Communiqué, Chatham Student Government, Black Student Union and my job at Career Development.

Besides the students, my faculty memories are just as impactful. Dr. Christine Sarteschi has been a solid figure in my years at Chatham. Although she values hard work, she values students’ well-being in a way that I have seldom experienced. She is brilliant and engaging, and she gives so many opportunities to her students. Due to her support, I was able to get two summer internships. 

Another professor I admire is Dr. Joshua Ellsworth, whom I briefly met last year, and I wish I was staying for another term to take his courses. His insight as a previous homicide detective provides a new understanding of criminology, and his care for his students is evident. My favorite memories are of him telling his stories from his police days, especially in Survey of Corrections. 

The Communiqué’s faculty advisor Sara Bauknecht encouraged me to participate in the Communiqué, and her guidance has improved my writing skills and critical thinking greatly. Like the other professors, her care for her students goes above and beyond, and it was an amazing thing to have experienced.

At this point, you are probably wondering why I am talking about so many people in a piece that is about me, but these people are my reasons for enjoying Chatham University. Memories like stressing out over exams, dancing to “Frosty the Snowman” during Candlelight and eating and laughing with others during BIPOC dinners have left lasting impressions that have changed me from the quiet, isolated girl I was before. All of these people — old and new — make me sad to leave, but I am grateful and happy for meeting them. 

This is why Chatham University must do better to improve the environment to prevent people like them from leaving. As tumultuous as my beginning was at Chatham, my time leaving may be equally tumultuous. The deficit and reorganization has left faculty and students reeling heavily, but the school has done little to support them. 

Faculty members have had too many benefits removed that it is not even safe to work here, and it is understandable that they are leaving. Students’ increased costs of living without improvements to housing or financial aid, leaves them more stressed and pushes them toward other schools. Despite the beautiful architecture and nature of Chatham University, it is not a fruitful, fulfilling environment because of the losses it has endured.

Last year, Chatham advertised that it was recognized as an A+ school for B+ students by the U.S. News & World Report. The reason that it is an A+ school is because of the faculty and students. They are the ones representing the school. Chatham must do better toward its faculty and students that maintain its A+ status by improving its communication and seeking out our opinions in matters related to our campus. 

It was infuriating when they made the decision to cancel winter commencement just over two months before the end of the semester without a warning, forcing students to not attend the walk that they worked hard for. The administration is not walking on our campus nor sharing our experiences. Students’ voices should be prioritized because we are the ones enduring these changes. 

Leaving Chatham is bittersweet. I loved the connections I made at Chatham, but I hate some of the decisions made during reorganization that have hurt the people who make this place special. I hope that Chatham will listen to its students’ concerns throughout the reorganization process so it can continue to be a special place where future students can have rich memories with amazing people like I did.

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About the Contributors
Jackie Clark, Contributing Writer
Jackie Clark '24 is a criminology major with a psychology minor. From Sarver, Pennsylvania, Jaqueline came to Chatham University to pursue a career in the FBI through the offered internship. Pursuing a possible major in journalism, Jackie joined the Comminque to widen her horizons while engaging her love of writing.
Abigail Hakas, Opinion Editor
Abigail Hakas ’25 is a Communications major with a concentration in journalism and a minor in African American Studies. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Abigail transferred to Chatham from the Community College of Allegheny County after three years of study. Abigail’s focuses are opinion pieces and informative stories on issues relating to inequity and social justice. Outside of journalism, Abigail has a passion for wrestling, video games and animals. Abigail can be reached at Abigail[email protected].

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