Over the past six years that I have been a student here at Case Western Reserve University, there have been many physical changes to campus. Often, people are surprised to hear that some of the places that are now thought of as staples of campus are fairly new. For example, all of the food places in Uptown like Panera Bread, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Potbelly Sandwich Shop, Dynomite Burgers and Sushi and all of the restaurants, shopping and even apartments came about fairly recently. It is interesting to think about how much campus and the surrounding area has changed, and how it will continue to change with new developments always under construction.
When I first started at CWRU in 2011, there weren’t many places to go out to eat at. The whole Uptown area basically did not exist, so you only had a few options like Subway, Chopstix Chinese Restaurant and QDOBA Mexican Eats to choose from close by. The Tinkham Veale University Center did not open until 2014, which at least gave a few more options for food. All of these additions give more space for students to go study, get lunch and in general make the area a more desirable place to live and stay around for a while. Even though it took up quite some space from Freiberger Field, I think that it uses the space well as a common area.
Every time I go into TVUC, it makes me happy to see groups together at tables studying and getting lunch together, and to see the prospective or admitted students gathering together. This never existed for the majority of my undergraduate time and was definitely not a part of the orientation or welcome to campus. I remember feeling like it was weird that there wasn’t a central place on campus that was a home to offices or felt like the typical student union that are present at many universities, including Cleveland State University and The University of Akron.
Although the constant construction zones don’t look great, in the end I think that these updates will be well worth it. Renovations in various buildings, like Kelvin Smith Library (KSL), give more study space and a less crowded feeling for first floor areas. The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences has been updated with technology classrooms in the past year, Guilford and Clark Hall have also seen significant face lifts with updates to the porch, new furniture and to the brickwork.
Hopefully, this type of change will continue around campus. Students who now come to CWRU can enjoy a much larger selection of food and more choices of hang out spots.
New additions can feel unnecessary, especially when we are used to what is present, but ultimately they are what will make campus appealing to future generations. As I reflect on my time at CWRU, I think about what the campus might look like in the future if I come back to visit. Some of my favorite memories have been with individuals and some of the things that stick out from these memories are the places that we hung out at around campus, like in the basement of KSL or eating at Melt University in TVUC during a long class break. It is encouraging to see the changes that keep happening around campus and the opportunities that they can provide to students.
Abby Assmus is a graduate social work & bioethics student who is finally leaving CWRU at the end of this semester.