By Caleb Slinkard
The Commerce Journal
What’s in a name? A lot, according to Texas A&M University-Commerce graduate student Adam Sparks.
Sparks recently created the Facebook page “Change Our School’s Name to East Texas A&M University” that has garnered roughly 100 likes and some discussion on campus. Senior Hugo Macias is one of the most vocal supporters of the page.
“I am proud of the university, I just feel it would be unique to have a name that represents the fifth oldest university in the state, as well as the A&M System,” he said.
The Commerce Journal talked with Sparks recently about his page and why he created it:
Commerce Journal: Texas A&M University-Commerce has been the name of the university for more than a decade at this point. Why change it?
Adam Sparks: Through the years that I have been here (Sparks began his undergraduate degree in 2007), I have noticed a strong lack of school pride at this institution. I have also noticed a major identity crisis between the alumni and current students. Alumni, still today, do not like the current disregard of school history and pride by having our name Texas A&M University-Commerce.
CJ: How would the university benefit from a name change?
AS: There would be a multitude of benefits. For one, people outside of this fine university would not be confused as to what this school is. For one, Texas A&M University–Commerce sounds too much like a branch school of College Station. For another, this is not the business division of Texas A&M, although we do have a great business program. Another benefit would be the reuniting of our alumni with the school. Many ended support for this school after the disappearance of East Texas from the title.
CJ: No current students really remember A&M-Commerce as East Texas State. What has the reaction of the page been by current students and administration, and how do you plan on building support?
AS: I’m not quite sure on the administrations reaction, as I would not expect them to be fully pleased with me. But, for the most part, I have seen students fall in love with the idea. Some of these students are active in extra-curricular activities and want to better represent this school. They too are tired of the confusion our name is having in the academic world. As far as building support, I plan to continue what I am doing now via social media. I have also designed a petition on www.change.org. The link is available on the Facebook page.
CJ: What is your goal with the page? Do you actually intend on trying to begin a process that would result in a name change, or are you merely raising awareness of the issue?
AS: The overall goal is to have the name changed. I won’t stop working on the page until that has happened. But, knowing the chances of this change happening while I am here at East Texas are slim, this is really geared to raise awareness for any future change.
CJ: Is there anything else you would like to add?
I, and other supporters, want the name changed because we love this school. It is not because we dislike the A&M system, or Ole’ ET, but it’s because we love this school and her traditions that once were strong on campus. This is not a page that attacks the administration, but one that wants to generate a strong identity for this school. Unfortunately the likelihood of that happening soon is slim. However, if no one says anything, then nothing will happen. For change to happen, someone needs to speak up.