Column: Equality for unequal campuses
March 7, 2017
Filed under Opinion
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With unification, there has been an underlying mindset that all things should be equal between the two campuses. However, since there are approximately three times as many on-campus students at the Hammond campus than there are at the Westville campus, things are quickly becoming unfair to Hammond campus students.
Not counting dual-credit students, there are about 2,500 Westville campus students compared to the approximate 8,200 at the Hammond campus. Although all PNW students are welcome to apply to join any student organization, the majority of students involved in student organizations are from the Hammond campus as well. To round up generously for the Westville side, about 25 percent of PNW students are from the Westville campus, so by that logic, 25 percent of all events should happen there due to convenience.
Students received an email on Feb. 28 stating that they do not have to attend any classes prior to 2 p.m. so that they can attend Founder’s Day festivities on March 6 at the DSSAC on the Westville campus. Given that the event starts at 9 a.m., and it takes about 45 minutes to drive whether by car or shuttle from the Hammond campus to the Westville campus, it seems pretty obvious that more students will use the opportunity to catch up on sleep or homework rather than attend the event. If Founder’s Day took place on the Hammond campus, I doubt any students would wake up early for that either, but at least students who were already on campus might stop by.
Founder’s Day is not the only event that is unnecessarily taking place at the Westville campus. On April 7, the annual Student Recognition Banquet will take place in the DSSAC. The banquet is meant to be a celebration of all student organizations for the hard work they put in during the academic year. Prior to unification, PUC would host the event at Wicker Park, not on campus. PNC did not have an event like this. As I have attended the event for the last four years in a row, I can speak based off experience that many students look forward to the event because along with delicious banquet food, we also got the opportunity to talk about the great things our organizations have accomplished. Now, the recognition banquet will be on campus and 45 minutes away from most students who will be attending. Along with that, the last bus leaves Westville at 6:15 p.m. and since the event starts at 5:30 p.m., students will have to drive themselves there. For every major event at either university, we need to make sure that the shuttle service has availability no matter how late the event lasts.
As for why the university is hosting so many events at the Westville campus despite it being inconvenient for the majority of students and faculty members, I believe there are two major reasons. The first is the most obvious; the DSSAC cost $33 million to build, so the university wants to make sure we are getting our money’s worth. The second reason I believe is because of the sheer lack of students on the Westville campus. I currently take one class on the Westville campus on Mondays and Wednesdays. Speaking from my own experience, the Westville campus is barren. Never once have I had an issue with finding an open computer in the library, had an issue finding a decent parking spot or had to walk through heavily congested hallways. More often than not, I will enter a student lounge in DSSAC or LSF and I am one of maybe four students in there.
When comparing the two campuses, the Hammond campus is an eyesore compared to the Westville campus. The Westville campus is a squeaky clean facility built on large open fields filled with sculptures and art, whereas the Hammond campus looks like a town out of “Resident Evil 4,” but with a view of 80/94. Because of this, I love the idea of more students going to the Westville campus so more events can occur out there solely due to how much nicer it is, but we are not there yet. This is the equivalent of 15 family members from Indiana traveling over the holidays to see five family members in Arizona.
If the university wants to host more events on the Westville campus to get more students to attend, they need to start smaller. For example, hosting more intramural outdoor sporting events in Westville with the promise of students being shuttled there and back would be a great way for students to see the campus. If the university starts small, eventually more students will be interested in the Westville campus. Until then, PNW events will inevitably have lower and lower attendance.