Editorial: Cleveland

It’s the dog days of August, and the organized chaos of Orientation Week is finally letting up. Throughout this week, incoming first-year students have been getting acclimated to their new academic home at Case Western Reserve University. On Saturday, they will take part in “Discover Cleveland,” spending a day in one part of the city that will surround them for the next four years.

In all honesty, this trip will only scratch the surface of Cleveland’s greatness. It isolates participants to whichever place they’re assigned, with little time for personal exploration. But this brief glimpse, paired with previous viewings of that “Hastily Made Cleveland Tourism Video,” will not tell incoming students the full story of the “Mistake on the Lake.”

“Discover Cleveland” participants may not get to experience the sensory overload provided by a morning visit to the West Side Market in Ohio City. The sights and smells are a system shock but in the best possible way; with the scent of beautiful fresh-baked bread contrasting the array of line-caught fish. Surrounding the market is a neighborhood rife with hole-in-the-wall restaurants and eccentric shops, including a record store connected to a witchcraft museum.

If you don’t get to the downtown area this Saturday, then be sure to make time for the Cleveland Public Library (CPL) another weekend. Kelvin Smith Library is not your only research resource, as the CPL has one of the most impressive historical archives in the nation. There are views of Lake Erie from some of their reading spaces and plenty of special exhibits and donated art to peruse. If you plan your day trip right, you may be able to pet some dogs in one of the buildings next-door.

None of this is to say, however, that the city is perfect. Realistically, there are some unavoidable facts that support Cleveland’s famous nickname. For starters, it’s adjacent to a river that once caught on fire, which is as unfortunate as it is impressive. While the state of Cleveland waters has improved since then, Erie is still the least “Great” of the Great Lakes.

Sports teams in the city aren’t doing much better. The Cleveland Indians have stayed strong, but for the second time, LeBron James has taken his talents elsewhere. Each time the city has been left wondering: Could we have done more? Should there have been another billboard? Until a clear answer is found, Cleveland will wait for its next great hero to emerge. Of course, one thing can be known for certain: the relief for the city’s pain will not be found in the Cleveland Browns.

Despite these complaints, true dislike for the city is practically nonexistent. Most gripes are meant, and taken, with a sense of humor, and are just a part of the Cleveland culture everyone grows to appreciate. The reality is that the range of smaller issues affecting the city still doesn’t outweigh the aspects that allow it to shine.

The four or more years spent at CWRU will be busy and filled with frustration, but this new community is not isolated to the academic bubble of University Circle. Getting to know the fantastic city encompassing campus will enhance the entire college experience. Be sure to get out and make the most of the included Regional Transit Authority pass and find whatever it takes to make this city home.