On The Trinity Perspective, you will find those answers—or at least someone who asked the same questions. We have been in your shoes. The Trinity Perspective collects advice and stories from current students, parents, faculty, and alumni to share with you—prospective students, families, and the Trinity community.

By Anna Van Buskirk '15
Anna Van Buskirk
Anna Van Buskirk ('15)
A Cappella Singer &

There are many factors to consider when choosing a college: professor to student ratios, academic prestige, whether or not there are community bathrooms, and more. One more key factor college-hopefuls nationwide are factoring into their college search is the prevalence and treatment of sexual assault on college campuses. Given that sexual assault is at the forefront of conversations socially, politically, and in higher education, this isn’t surprising. What is surprising is the variation in response, or lack thereof, that exists between universities.

While it’s not necessary to do a word-by-word comparison of the sexual assault policies of potential universities, the way a university has handled past issues can be very telling.
Trinity Students Take the Lead on Sexual Assault Policy
Trinity Students Nupur Agrawal ('14) & Anna Van Buskirk take a stand in the nationwide conversation on collegiate sexual assault. Click here to see the full video on Fox News San Antonio.

"If nothing is occurring on the sexual assault front at a university, they need to get with the times. It’s not progressive to be 'looking into' adapting policies to improve the safety of your university—it should be a given."

If change is needed, university leaders should be ready to adapt to fit the needs of their students—they should work zealously to find best practices and make their campus a leader in the way sexual assault is addressed. For example, over the past few months, Trinity worked with top consultants to revise its sexual assault policy, had numerous leaders give insight, and provided students with the opportunity to add their input. If willingness to adapt isn’t a key value of a prospective university, forget about it.

If anything should happen, policies and procedures should be clearly communicated, well-facilitated, and ones that put the students first.  At Trinity, we have flyers in bathrooms –men’s and women’s—that clearly outline steps to take if you think you have been sexually assaulted. While everyone may not read them in-depth, students know where to find guidance if they need it, and that’s what’s important. Getting help and reporting sexual assault shouldn’t be a hassle either in finding information or in actually going through the process.

Trinity Students Take the Lead on Sexual Assault Policy
"At Trinity, we have flyers across campus and in every restroom stall –men’s and women’s—that clearly outline steps to take if you think you have been sexually assaulted."
Administrators should be caring, receptive to feedback, and accessible to students. At Trinity, we have clear lines of communication to campus leaders such as Dean David Tuttle and Dr. Sheryl Tynes, Vice President for Academic Affairs. In addition, compassionate, helpful resources – such as Counseling Services and the Rape Crisis Center of San Antonio—should be readily available to all students.

Most importantly, while some aspects of sexual assault and its treatment should be handled by the university, many components are in the hands of students. While there are cultural norms that need to be broken and misconceptions that need to be addressed through educational measures –such as the sexual assault presentation we added this year to our New Student Orientation—students should be stepping up to foster respect among one another. If students aren’t initiating discussion and combating victim-blaming and slut-shaming behavior, they might not be the best fellow students for you since overall, this issue is about respect.

To learn more about student research on sexual assault and prevention at Trinity click here. 

About Anna Van Buskirk
From Baytown, Texas, senior Anna Van Buskirk is an Accounting major with minors in Music and Spanish. She works for Residential Life Staff, serves on the Academic Honor Council, and represents Admissions as a Trinity Distinguished Representative. As an AcaBella and Chamber Singer, she keeps up with her passion for music.

By Bria Woods ('16)
Bria Woods
Bria Woods ('16)
Film Producer & Christian Leader

If you ask any Trinity student why he or she chose Trinity, be prepared for a laundry list. For the sake of time, I have distilled my answer into three reasons:

1. Proximity

I wasn’t ready for the commitment moving away required and I really wanted to stay near home. Really near. As in only-20-minutes-away (with traffic)- near! Best decision I ever made, because I am at the school of my dreams and it’s right in my backyard. I’ve also been able to experience so many aspects of South San Antonio for the first time. It’s so rich and full of history, culture and something new is developing all the time.

2. Size

I love attention.  Especially in the classroom! My high school (Claudia Taylor “Lady Bird” Johnson) is actually slightly larger than Trinity! Needless to say I was beginning to feel a little lost in the shuffle in class and knew that a public university would not be the antidote. It was time to downsize.  Trinity fit the bill hands down. The personal attention is remarkable. Professors have flexible office hours and are eager to answer questions about a confusing lecture or just chat about that cool film that just came out. With classes capping at roughly 15 to 20 students it’s easier to get to know classmates and build a rapport with amazing professors who actually know your name!

3. Culture

I subscribe to the philosophy that an organization or institution is only as a great as the people in it.  I’m also an extreme extrovert with a high need to belong and feel a part of a team. Before I even stepped foot on Trinity’s campus my family and I were met with kindness, professionalism, and warmth through emails and even phone conversations. Once I did visit the campus the atmosphere was so positively charged it felt like I was made for Trinity. From the President on down everyone that I interacted with on campus made me feel so welcomed and appreciated and I wasn’t even a student yet. Needless to say my early decision application practically wrote itself and since I’ve been here I’ve made so many amazing connections and relationships with some of the best people I’ve met in my life! Coming to Trinity has been a dream come true and I can confidently say that there’s no other place I’d rather spend my glory days!

By Paige Roth ('15)
Paige Roth '15
Biology Researcher & Playwright

It’s the fall of your senior year. You have made the college list. You are frantically writing supplement questions and college essays. Your college travel schedule rivals the frequency of the local football team. Senior classes aren’t a cakewalk, your friends are trying to make some last minute memories, and, to top it all off, your parents are acting…how do we put this? Odd.

I still remember trading stories with my friends about our parents’ college transition.

“My mom leaves pro, con lists for me at the breakfast table."

“My dad has declared family dinner mandatory.”

“My mom has started crying over my old baby albums.”

“I can't believe my dad insisted we repave our mile-long driveway and re-mulch our yard together this weekend. He insisted it had to happen THIS weekend.”

“My mother interrogates college tour guides like they are on trial for murder.”

Sound familiar? Suddenly all parents' emotions are on the fritz. You are constantly in trouble or suddenly smothered with affection. Or worse—both.

The fact is: college searches today are not all about you. Generally, parents are highly invested in your college process. Don’t be surprised if college research becomes a part time job for both of your parents. I am here to tell you that it’s normal.

Here are my 5 Pieces of Advice for making your parents feel at ease and getting the most of your college search together:

  1. Show your parents your have things under control my sending them a list of dates. Be sure to include: SAT, ACT, Early Decision, Early Action, and Regular decision dates.
  2. Make a Google Document with your current college list and share it with your parents. Keep it up to date with Pros and Cons for each school, deadlines, questions to ask during your visit, and if the school is a safety, match, or reach. This will ensure your parents are up to date with the most recent information and you are organized.
  3. Take initiative and organize a family night. I recommend picking a favorite family movie, cooking dinner, planning a day trip, or board game night. Show your parents that you aren’t going to forget to make time for them now or in college.
  4. ASK for your parents advice. I know you’ve heard it a thousand times by now, your parents know best, but they also know you best and where you will be most successful. As I begin my graduate school search my mom is already sick of me asking her opinion—and that’s a good thing.
  5. Enjoy the process and your parent’s role in it. Some of my favorite memories from my senior year involve sitting in a coffee shop after a college visit in a new town debating the pros and cons of the school with my parents. They really are your best advocates and won’t steer you wrong.

By Anna Van Buskirk ('15)
Anna Van Buskirk
Anna Van Buskirk ('15)
A cappella Singer & Accountant 

You know that feeling when you're watching a majestic ballet and suddenly wish you'd never stopped taking dance lessons? Because now, it's too late for you to be a prima donna?

That's almost how I felt about continuing Spanish in college. I took Spanish as a child, in my Texan high school, and if I had stopped there, I'd be like most people I know who say, "Oh, yeah, I took Spanish back in high school for four years, but all I can remember is how to ask where the bathroom is and list a few foods." Yeah, no.  Not about that life. I didn't want to leave this new branch of learning unfinished so it could wither away.  That's probably why I always finish movies, because it bothers me to leave things unfinished (with the exception of Love and Other Drugs... that movie was aggressively awful).

Anna Van Buskirk Study Abroad
Anna visits Los Pentitentes, which is in the Cuyo province near-ish to Mendoza.
Apart from a need to finish what I started, you may wonder why I continued language studies in college when I had so many other activities to choose from.

Perhaps my need to achieve fluency in another language stemmed from all the books I'd read and movies I'd seen about secret agents using ninja moves. You know the characters with rocking high-tech gadgetry in slinky black spy gear who casually interacting with locals like a native speaker in several languages. Badass, right?

Anna Van Buskirk Study Abroad
Puente del Inca, which is between Mendoza and the Chilean border. 
Going to a university like Trinity with such a potpourri of diversity made me long not only to be badass, but to competently interact in a global environment. Maybe not as an international spy, but at least to understand more about other people and cultures and to find more places for myself in the world. Enter my plans to study abroad.

Over half of Trinity students study abroad, and I'm so thankful I did. In reality, being at Trinity is sort of like studying abroad-- some of my best friends are from Sweden, Indonesia, Mexico, and India. However, the saying "The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page" is accurate.

Anna Van Buskirk Study Abroad
Anna visits Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires-- one of the most famous opera houses in the world.
One of the smartest things one can do is to be eager to continually discover, grow, learn, and improve. It's astounding how seeing your culture through the eyes of another can completely change your perspective. I questioned things that were always done a certain way back in the US and found myself weighing and choosing the parts I wanted from each country as part of my identity.  

I remember reading author Ken Bain's work which clearly expressed that those who have to adapt to a new situation are better for it. Studying abroad is the best way I can think of to force yourself to try new things and to learn about what's important to other cultures and to appreciate it. Besides, you have to become a better listener so you can communicate and understand correctly-- both in a grammatical and cultural sense. Besides, if you don't, you'll probably get lost all the time.

Anna Van Buskirk Study Abroad
Puente de la Mujer, the famous bridge in the Puerto Madero barrio (neighborhood) of Buenos Aires.
I returned as a kinder friend, a better listener, fluent in Spanish, and overall, tenfold more globally intelligent. I can't think of a single job in the world in which the maturity and perspective I learned wouldn't make me incredibly competitive and contributive. For the Wicked fans out there, yes, I've been changed for the better and been changed for good.

About Anna Van Buskirk
From Baytown, Texas, senior Anna Van Buskirk is an Accounting major with minors in Music and Spanish. She works for Residential Life Staff, serves on the Academic Honor Council, and represents Admissions as a Trinity Distinguished Representative. As an AcaBella and Chamber Singer, she keeps up with her passion for music.