Let’s do the numbers.
Over the last five years, UTSA has increased its research spending by 97 percent.
UTSA boasts the largest business school in The University of Texas System and is nationally ranked by the Princeton Review, Business Week and HispanicBusiness. Moreover, UTSA’s College of Liberal and Fine Arts is second in The UT System for external research funding in arts, humanities and social sciences.
Despite these distinctions, the university still lacks an identifiable culture and community.
Comparing campus traditions to those at other top universities in Texas such as UT Austin, Texas A&M, Baylor and Rice must be done through a time-sensitive lens.
For all its accolades, UTSA is still in its infancy. Don’t panic. We are on the path to building tradition.
By establishing an NCAA Division I football team, creating a Rowdy Statue and emphasizing UTSA’s own Fiesta activities on campus, the university has begun to lay groundwork for a budding campus atmosphere.
The Sombrilla — UTSA’s answer to a quad — is slowly become a place to hang out. Late night dining options and lighting along the Paseo will help build an after-hours community, an integral part of a campus culture.
Much like the trek to Tier One, the development of campus culture is a numbers game to come to fruition. While UTSA has yet to shake its commuter identity, it is quickly becoming a campus students commute to, and then stay a while.
UTSA is on its way to becoming a university with an established tradition. As President Romo engages with faculty, students and staff about UTSA2020 Blueprint — a newly minted strategic plan for the next five years — students must participate.
Tradition cannot be itemized in a strategic plan. Structural growth and development does not translate to school pride, just as athletic teams do not immediately result in heavily attended sports games.
UTSA has the resources of a traditional university, but these elements have yet to gel.
But to say that there is no campus identity at all is unfair. UTSA Athletics, Greek life, the Student Government Association have worked toward creating the sorely needed cohesive community.
As the roots of a tradition-laden Tier One University take hold, we must be patient. Building traditions takes time. So stay calm, at least until 2020.