Pride vs Shame

Kaitlyn Bergman, Writer

Students choose to attend the University of Michigan-Flint for a variety of reasons. Yet, as many notice when engaging with their fellow student body, the sense of community is hit-or-miss. This fact is backed up when talking to students living on campus. When asked which they feel more: pride or shame about attending UM-Flint, the answers are split 50-50.

Student opinions about UM-Flint can be best observed on social media platforms such as the Class of 2026’s Snapchat Story. This is available to students with an email address to link with their Snapchat accounts. Students from Ann Arbor, Dearborn, and Flint are all able to post on this story, which allows for the opportunity for students from all three campuses to engage. 

Yet, many have noticed that there have been instances where the posts are mainly students from each campus debating about which is the “worst” campus to attend. This can cause students to feel a lot of shame about where they have decided to pursue their education.

Olivia Cox, a first-year student here at UM-Flint, told The Michigan Times that “Personally I love the teachers and everything. Flint gives a lot of opportunities for students in a lot of aspects,”

Yet, even while enjoying attending here, she said there are times “I feel inferior to the people going to Ann Arbor because of how Flint is talked about, and people saying rude things toward it.” 

Christian Estes, a student and member of Kappa Sigma, feels “more pride” about attending. He went on to mention that he feels that “our dorms are much larger and more updated” including suites that allow for more privacy. As for education, “classes are smaller and more focused.” 

One spark for the discourse of this topic is how “our Ann Arbor campus, as well as other colleges, make UM-Flint out to be something it’s not – something overrun with crime – when in reality, Ann Arbor sees just as much.” 

“Despite popular belief, we do have clean water,” says Estes. “The only thing UM-Flint is missing other than the traditions surrounding Ann Arbor is student life. This is why it is fundamental that we get over the stigma that UM-Flint is a poor choice for education.”

UM-Flint’s size can be seen in both a positive and negative light. Professors have more time for one-on-one interaction with students, and students are also able to recognize peers more often due to the size of the student body, yet the size can actually make it more difficult for some students to build connections. For students new to the community, when opportunities to mingle are not entirely comfortable, it can be difficult to achieve the results they hope for. 

Students who feel shame point out that while the location can be a positive for reasons such as being close to home, they also don’t take pride in attending a University located in Flint. Events going on to engage with the Flint community off-campus for students are limited. The University tries to negate this by offering several experiences, such as an ice skating night in November at Crystal Fieldhouse Ice Arena, where our ice hockey team plays.