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Case Western Reserve University's independent student news source

The Observer

Case Western Reserve University's independent student news source

The Observer

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Don’t hate us because we’re beautiful

In the summer of 2011, The Huffington Post named Case Western Reserve University its Trendiest “School that Flies Under the Academic Radar but Shouldn’t.” If ever there had been a distinction that the university shouted to the rooftops, this would be it. In fact, if I had a dollar for every time I witnessed the school proclaim this recognition, I probably could have traded my university education for beachfront property in the Hamptons.

The phrase “We’re Trendy” dominated university department websites last year, articles in The Daily often led with the accolade, and marketing materials around campus printed the joyous news in crisp Titillium (the university’s official font).

Well, the party is now over – at least as far as The Huffington Post and Princeton Review are concerned.

This past Monday, The Huffington Post published Princeton Review’s ranking of “The Least Beautiful Campuses” in the United States. Prominently placed on the first slide: Case Western Reserve University.

Given the hullabaloo surrounding last year’s recognition, this news came as quite a shock to the institution – even capturing the attention of president Barbara R. Snyder at the State of the University Address, which occurred the day following the ranking’s release.

“I really do not know why they ranked us such,” Snyder said. “The campus is really beautiful, and I felt terrible about that ranking. I am very proud of our campus,” she added.

The Huffington Post certainly didn’t aid CWRU’s cause by placing a dreary photo of a snow-covered North Residential Village next to our ranking.

Now, before I elaborate, I must point out that the campus was clearly no looker this past week. Thanks to Hurricane Sandy, trees were tipped on end, soaked leaves paved roadways, and a solemn gray sky draped over the campus. However, despite Cleveland’s reputation, this isn’t the average appearance for the university, especially in the spring, summer, and early fall.

Clearly the organizers behind Princeton Review’s ranking never visited campus when the cherry blossom trees are in full bloom during April. Clearly they never witnessed the KSL Oval on a sunny day at the dawn of summer. Clearly they never meandered through the Mather Quad on a fall afternoon amidst the drifting autumn leaves. Clearly they have never seen our university at all.

It’s hard to deny that CWRU displays some interesting aesthetic points. The modern artwork and 1960s architecture around campus combine to create interesting visuals; however, what some argue is ugly, I assert is character.

Across the CWRU campus, modern buildings, such as the Peter B. Lewis Building, and antique landmarks, such as Clark Hall, sit close together in perfect harmony. This may be deemed unattractive to Princeton Review and The Huffington Post, but it’s a pure indication of the CWRU culture to me.

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About the Contributor
Tyler Hoffman, Executive Editor & Publisher
. Fourth-year medical anthropology student Tyler Hoffman has served as Executive Editor and Publisher of The Observer since April 2012. As Executive Editor, Tyler is responsible for establishing and maintaining the direction of The Observer's print and online platforms. Formerly the News Editor, he specializes in research reporting and digital publishing, which are skills he honed as a health writer and editor with the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. In addition to his work with The Observer, Tyler chairs the University Media Board and co-chairs the Student Executive Council. In April 2013, he was the recipient of CWRU's Outstanding Member of the Media Award. -- Outside of campus media, Tyler is the Division of Information Technology Services' Student Engagement Leader, in which he helps direct efforts to support students in their use of academic technologies at the university. When not working, Tyler, a passionate fan of food and cooking, enjoys kicking back with his friends and  tasting his way through the Cleveland restaurant scene. Reach Tyler at and on Twitter @tylerehoffman. .

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