Editorial: Legacy Week could strengthen campus community

Let’s get excited about what will hopefully become a campus tradition.

For the first time in a significant way, Case Western Reserve University will be celebrating the anniversary of the federation of Western Reserve University and Case Institute of Technology through Legacy Week: Better Together. The Student Presidents’ Roundtable (SPR) is leading the planning for the events, which will run from April 23 to 28. Take a look at our news coverage this week for more information about the complex history behind CWRU’s creation.

The SPR is made up of the heads of the Undergraduate Student Government (USG), the Undergraduate Diversity Collaborative (UDC), the University Media Board (UMB), the University Program Board (UPB), the Interfraternity Congress (IFC), the Panhellenic Council (PHC), the Class Officer Collective (COC) and the Residence Hall Association (RHA). They meet regularly throughout the school year to discuss issues relating to the school and its organizations.

The Editorial Board thinks that Legacy Week unifies these events to help us remember our history and establish traditions for the future, which might help CWRU’s school spirit problem. But we’re worried about the execution and participation of the campus community.

The SPR, working with Student Activities and Leadership, the Alumni Association and the Office of Annual Giving, plans to incorporate the traditions of Hudson Relays and Springfest into Legacy Week. There will also be several smaller pop-up events throughout the week led by different departments and student organizations. For example, University Program Board (UPB) will be running a special Thwing Tuesdays.

Connecting these established events is a strong first step toward centralizing our campus. But we also want to emphasize the importance of creating our own traditions that will truly cement Legacy Week as a part of our campus’ culture. Finding a way for each student to make Legacy Week their own will also hopefully take care of our campus’ problems with school spirit. It’s no secret that many CWRU students lack a sense of belonging and have trouble getting excited about events that happen on our campus. This lack of campus pride may be related to our reluctance to recognize the federation and the union it represents.

To personalize Legacy Week for each group of students that experiences it each year—that is, all four classes—we think that there should be some type of event to feature the contributions and accomplishments of each class as well as the high points of the year. This way, each class will be more likely to feel an attachment to the tradition and to truly feel as if they are a part of CWRU’s history.
Getting students to participate in Legacy Week might also be tough because it will happen right at the end of the year, near finals week, which is stressful for many students. The timing of Legacy Week makes sense, as the federation happened in June and the end of April is about as close as the University can get. But the organizations involved in Legacy Week will need to make sure that they do a good job of promoting it and emphasizing the overarching theme of the events, so that students will want to attend them.

We also think it’s important that SPR and the rest of the organizations involved in Legacy Week teach people about the history of the federation—including the controversial parts. Some alumni of each college attending at the time of the federation were very opposed to the decision and were upset at the idea of celebrating something they never wanted in the first place.

We’re excited for Legacy Week, and we’re impressed with SPR and all of the other organizations involved in planning it. The celebration has been a long time coming. It’s not often that we have the opportunity to create a new tradition, so let’s work to get this right.