Anyone who took a tour of Villanova or attended Candidates’ Weekend would probably agree that Villanova’s main marketing point is “the Villanova community.” Prospective students are indoctrinated with the idea that the best part about Villanova is the familial community that everyone belongs to. What these students are not told is that this community does not welcome everyone. There may be a great community here with a spirit of service and friendship, but Villanova’s best kept secret? You have to apply to it.
Upon arrival at Villanova, freshmen endure an intensive four day orientation program run by a select group of student Orientation Counselors. Throughout this program, freshmen will be informed about all the wonderful opportunities available to them on campus that they can begin to join after the activities fair in September. Since Villanova markets itself as a service-oriented school, most of these freshmen come to campus eager to get involved.
The harsh truth of the Villanova community unfolds at this activity fair. Want to be a tour guide? Want to help with Special Olympics? Want to be an Orientation Counselor next year? Here’s an application. Seems fair, right? Clubs shouldn’t just let anyone in without an application. The freshmen maintain hope as they fill out their applications, but after a few weeks time, everyone realizes that almost nobody was accepted to these elite—and that’s what they are at Villanova— organizations. Even if the student gets called back for an interview, there’s typically two or three interviews before actually receiving an acceptance letter, which leaves hundreds of students devastated to realize that the Villanova community doesn’t seem to want them.
These organizations obviously cannot accept every student, but a harsh reality is that it seems that the same students are often accepted into every organization while every other willing and able Villanovan is left with nothing to join. And since these organizations are so exclusive, the accepted students often emit a high and mighty vibe that puts the rejected Villanovans down. These clubs are more than just service opportunities, they all have a social component and become very exclusive in that regard as well. The members of these organizations are the “real” members of the Villanova community and people who were rejected from the organizations feel neglected and outsiders in the “community.”
There needs to be more inclusive opportunites for students at Villanova because there is clearly an extreme interest to help that is not being fufilled. In a world so desperate for volunteers and service, it seems strange that Villanova fosters an environment of exclusitivity toward people wanting to help.
Organizations don’t have infinite spots. But with these clubs being billed as so hard to get into, it’s curious that so many of the same people are in the groups we speak of. Are these people involved because they really are the best candidates, or are there social factors at play? Students came here for the Villanova “community,” but when their application wasn’t good enough, they discovered that they wouldn’t be a part of it—there’s something very wrong with that.