Smith: CWRU Students need to explore Cleveland more

Kevin Smith, Opinion Editor

As our strange winter-spring fusion season fades into the humid Cleveland summer, the city begins to ascend to its peak in June. The roller coaster capital of the world, Cedar Point, opens in a little over a month. University Circle brings in the summer with a flurry of events including the Hessler Street Fair and Wade Oval Wednesdays, but across the city there are plenty more opportunities and activities. The NBA Playoffs are approaching, and although the Cavaliers are not playing their best as of late, you can depend on them to come around soon.

With University Circle being a hub of the city’s culture, it can seem that no more exploration is needed. But I encourage students to see more of the city before departing for the summer. I find that many other students I interact with feel like the rest of Cleveland is uninteresting.

Yes, Cleveland lacks the allure of cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Miami or any of the like. But are these the only several places truly worth exploring? It is not a city, as stated in “Believeland,” that will come out and find you all the time. I can attest to the fact that you must search for the Cleveland that you love.

But does that mean it isn’t worth seeing? The search is worth it. I didn’t always like Cleveland myself even as a Clevelander. It was not until I came back to go to Case Western Reserve University and I explored the city that I began to love it. There’s beauty in the struggle. There are not many places on the planet that can live up to some of the largest cities in this country have to offer in terms of nightlife and entertainment, but there’s more to a city than that.

There’s people, art, music, entertainment, all which can be found in each neighborhood. There are some areas off campus which are not safe for students to go on foot, which is understandable but discernable from areas such as Playhouse Square, one of the finest performing districts in the country. Cleveland has excellent dining options with chef Michael Symon’s restaurants throughout the city, and student favorites Barrio and Happy Dog increasing their presence. The nightlife is improving with additions in the downtown area.

The attitudes that remain about Cleveland are not for lack of trying. CWRU has put a lot of effort into curbing student opinion. From the jump, the university seeks to encourage students to explore Cleveland. Incoming first-year students are given opportunities to see many of the most exciting attractions around the city. Displays of what the town has to offer can be seen in pretty much all the residential spaces and common areas. First-year SAGES classes have a fourth-hour dedicated to learning outside the classroom, although some professors use it differently than others.

The city’s reputation precedes it, of course. Cleveland has been a punchline in popular culture since the 1970s, and as a Clevelander myself, I perhaps have learned to laugh at our pain. Other students may see a city that does not boast a vibrant nightlife, constant sunshine, or even consistent weather patterns, but it does provide you with the opportunity to meet new people, explore what the city does have to offer, and get involved in the city through various ways.

It’s understandable to stay inside during the cold winter, and it may be even more difficult to get off campus as finals begin to approach. However, if we are to truly think beyond the possible, then we ought to at least get off campus and see beyond the boundaries of East Boulevard.