For college freshmen nationwide, change is in the air. From yearbook messages condemning it to graduation songs heralding it, incoming first-years are force-fed the notion that nothing stays the same for long. Yet luckily for these change-sickened students, modification is not on the docket for Case Western Reserve University this year – but starting over is.
Following last fall’s disappointing freshman class size, Enrollment Management’s recent recruiting success is forcing the university to rethink enrollment expectations. With approximately 1400 first-year students descending upon the campus, CWRU established new precedents in not only numbers, but in the diversity and talent inherent with a new class.
University administration had to reimagine critical campus services, such as housing, to accommodate this year’s influx of new students. To this end, the Office of Housing, Residence Life, and Greek Life chose to rescue the Magnolia Residential College from the university’s archives. In addition to giving Clarke Tower a chance to make its mark on the first-year experience, the new plan houses every second-year student on the south side of campus for the first time in recent history.
However, with the Uptown development project finally becoming a reality, students will most likely be spending less time in their residence halls and more time on Euclid Ave. Constantino’s Market, Chipotle, and Jimmy John’s all followed Barnes and Noble’s example and opened their doors this summer. With other vendors, such as Panera Bread, soon to follow, a noticeable shift is occurring that will make the north side of campus the new shopping and dining destination for the school and its neighboring communities.
In a few years, though, Uptown will have to compete with the Tinkham Veale University Center, a $50 million construction project that commenced just as students were leaving for the summer. While the university community can look forward to chain-linked fences and heavy machinery in the short term, a new campus center, complete with meeting spaces, dining areas, and a 9000 foot ballroom, lies at the end of the proverbial tunnel.
Although no one can truly predict the effect of such a grand-scale addition, the notion of having a central home for more than 160 student organizations definitely borders on revolutionary.
Change is certainly one word to describe what is currently transpiring on the CWRU campus; however, it seems insufficient when paired against the positive repercussions that will radiate for years to come. So rather than make changes, it appears the university has chosen instead to make a new beginning – a course of action our publication also embarked upon recently.
In addition to being delivered each Friday in buildings across campus, our expanded editorial board built The Observer a new, second home online at observer.case.edu. While still believing that some stories should leave newsprint on readers’ hands, we set out to forge a sophisticated web presence offering round-the-clock access to the university’s latest news, arts and entertainment, sports scores, and opinion forums. Our new website also facilitates a multimedia approach to storytelling, which will enable us to reflect the student voice through video and audio in addition to the written word.
Online and in print, The Observer will be there to tell the ongoing story of our university, wherever these new beginnings takes us. After all, the upcoming year is shaping up to be one of CWRU’s most exciting yet – and the best part is we are just getting started.