UH: Give a hoot, let's recruit

by Chris Pena

As you may or may not be aware of, the annual Frontier Fiesta celebration will take place this weekend.

I won't try to entice you to attend the event -- I'll leave that to their public relations people. But happenings such as this are great opportunities for the University of Houston to promote itself.

If UH wants to forge a closer working relationship with the Houston community, it must take advantage of citywide events that, invariably, can only help the university's beleaguered image.

Obviously, the main reason UH needs to be more recognized is so it can better recruit students not only in the Houston area, but across the state.

To rein in these future students, UH must grab them early.

One event that the university did a great job in was the recent Houston Hispanic Forum.

I could see the excitement in the students' eyes as they discovered the benefits UH had to offer them. Like me, many of these kids will be the first in their family to attend college.

Name recognition is certainly invaluable when choosing a university.

For UH, the struggle is much more difficult, because, being in Texas, it faces the daunting task of competing for students with two other major public universities in the state -- the University of Texas, and that other school with a glorified 4H curriculum. (Please control your emotions, you 15,000 former Texas A&M students now at UH.)

All kidding aside, UH must increase its community presence if it expects its student population, and more importantly, its revenue, to increase.

After all, it's all about money. The reason we have an inferiority complex at this university is because we can't compete financially with the state's powerhouse schools.

Since the state legislature is controlled by orange- and maroon-bleeding creatures, this university must confront the burden before it head-on.

UH must not expect any help from anyone but itself. Therefore, the university should make the effort of reaching out to Houston's kids priority No. 1.

This is not a difficult concept. The younger the children are, the earlier the association between them and UH is formed.

The University of Houston can do a much better job of making itself attractive to future college students, but the mission must begin at the very top.

I sympathize with our interim president because the road before him is difficult. But if this university doesn't take advantage of PR opportunities, it will be left, as Frantz Fanon said, straddling nothingness and infinity.

Pea is a senior RTV major.

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