Trustees set the mood

President Sullivan wants the best and the brightest.

Coming on the heels of record-breaking first-year enrollments, the new boss is adamant about reducing class size while increasing selectivity.

The materials from the Board of Trustees meeting earlier this month a 400-page document available online and perfect for anyone who has run out of Ambien contained one titillating piece of information: a $2.5 million allocation to cover increased financial aid and recruitment.

This one-time allocation is being pulled from 2012 reserve funds, with $2 million slated for financial aid and the remainder to cover general expenses for the Enrollment Management office.

With President Sullivan on the record and a number of outlets expressing a desire to reduce the size of the UVM student body, this transfer of funds provides tangible evidence of a direct shift in goals from the previous administration.

Under President Fogel, UVM witnessed large construction projects Aiken, Davis Center, Simpson Dining Hall covered by increased enrollment of out-of-state students paying increasingly higher tuition rates.

While its true that we now have a beautiful campus filled with state-of-the-art facilities, it is also true that campus is packed to the gills.

The promise of small class sizes with strong student-teacher ratios made while I was on a tour in 2009 quickly evaporated when I stepped into ANTH021 with 200 of my closest classmates.

According to the UVM sourcebook, 77.6 percent of applicants were accepted in 2012. This is hardly a number that allows us to claim public ivy status.

An increase in available financial aid, along with a greater recruiting budget, will allow our school to select the strongest candidates regardless of their ability to pay out of pocket.

A drive for smaller enrollment coupled with the lowest proposed tuition increase 2.7 percent in recent memory, signifies a desire to fund UVMs needs somewhere other than on the backs of students.

The shift will be difficult. There is approximately a five million dollar gap between revenue and expenditures that must be negotiated without the benefit of greater tuition dollars.

But President Sullivans efforts are commendable.

By becoming more selective, class sizes will start to shrink and the quality of students will rise.

My time at UVM is coming to a close, but President Sullivans goals leave me hopeful for the future of my soon-to-be alma mater.

UVM is poised to return to the intimate setting of collaboration between professors and students that lured me in the first place.