Case Western Reserve University's independent student news source

The Observer

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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Editor’s Note: look before you leap (or complain)

For the second year in a row, Washington Monthly ranked Case Western Reserve University in its national top 10 list of colleges that contribute to the public good. Despite this positive news, the first week of classes was marked by the all too familiar murmur of first-year and returning students doubting their college choice. The phrase “I can’t believe I turned down [insert other university’s name here] to attend CWRU” comes to mind.

Yet many of the students who dare utter this sentiment often are the least knowledgeable about the numerous resources and services available to them for free or reduced cost as CWRU students.

Surprisingly enough, free things exist outside the bubble that is a college campus. The Free Access Program encompasses eight institutions at which CWRU students can bypass admission by showing their student ID and, in some cases, a ticket from Access Services.

Three of the four museums on the list are located right here in University Circle. The Cleveland Museum of Art is one of the most prominent art museums in the nation and contains 70 galleries spanning 6,000 years of art history. It also has special exhibits, for which real members of society must pay to see. The Cleveland Museum of Natural History features a planetarium, observatory, discovery center, and live animal shows. The Museum of Contemporary Art, near the bookstore, rotates its exhibits frequently to showcase new art and ensure that non-hardcore art lovers do not have to look at the same thing twice. The Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, located in Beachwood, is a testament to Cleveland’s Jewish community and its accomplishments.

For music fans, CWRU provides free access to the world-renowned Cleveland Orchestra and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The orchestra plays in Severance Hall on Thursday evenings and students can enter a drawing to receive a free ticket. Be mindful of your dress, as even Cleveland has a power class that won’t take kindly to athletic shorts and Greek letters. For those seeking the exact opposite environment, check out the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame downtown next to the concrete monolith in which the Browns occasionally play football correctly. The Rock Hall has everything from Beatles setlists to Janis Joplin’s car. Just don’t watch the films.

Finally, back in University Circle, the Cleveland Botanical Garden and the Western Reserve Historical Society conclude the free access tour. The Botanical Garden contains ten acres of rose gardens, Japanese gardens, herb gardens, and more. If you don’t like gardens, it also has the world’s largest chameleon, which roams freely and is apparently harmless. The Western Reserve Historical Society serves to document the turbulent history of Northeast Ohio and has a Jay Leno-like vintage vehicle collection – over 200 of them, to be nearly exact.

Other resources adding to the CWRU experience can be found directly from campus. The Division of Information Technology Services (ITS) offers several unique resources for students, such as, a website offering thousands of video tutorials on software titles and business skills. Additionally, students can download the latest version of the Adobe Creative Suite from, along with many other useful titles at no or reduced cost.

In the Kelvin Smith Library (KSL), students will also find the Freedman Center. The Freedman Center houses a plethora of multimedia resources for CWRU students to utilize. You can rent digital cameras, voice recorders, and video cameras as well as use their computers, which are full of video editing software. The center also offers speedy poster printing – try finding that at Carnegie Mellon.

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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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