Build us something we all can use

CMU on right track, now focus on keeping us here

Attracting a sizable freshman class has been Central Michigan University’s foremost challenge and headache in recent memory. With new enrollment figures projecting a 25-percent increase in new incoming freshmen, CMU has begun to address this concern.

We support efforts made by the administration to boost our enrollment, to keep us here until graduation and to keep the university thriving into the future. Yet we question whether they have a vested interest in listening to our existing student body and their on-campus concerns.

Yesterday, President George Ross announced the release of the new enrollment figures and the groundbreaking for a campus hotel. He did so in front of the Mount Pleasant business people, and it put a positive face on the university’s problems.

The hotel is geared at brining in new visitors to the school, while at the same time, putting up valuable donors and alumni when they visit. It is also going to help our hospitality students have a real-life learning lab.

And let us be clear, the university will not be spending your tuition money to get this project off the ground. The onus has been placed on the developer, Lodgco, to provide the capital to build and run the hotel, while CMU collects rent checks through a 30-year land lease.

Having this hotel as a lab shows that Ross and his administration have a plan to expand upon programs they know are going to have an impact on future enrollment.

But it still isn’t geared completely toward student use. It is instead just another piece of fancy window dressing trying to convince the community at large that CMU has staying power.

On Facebook and Twitter, our students questioned the need for the hotel since the beginning of this hotel storyline. Instead, they brought up a concern much more vital to students and their ability to even just attend their classes on time: Parking.

As our enrollment grows, we’re nearing a definite limit of physical capacity that administrators like Steven Johnson, vice president of Enrollment and Student Services, warned about. Despite how much CMU desperately wants more bodies in classes and walking to get degrees, there is a point where too many is too much to handle. 

Ross knows that as well.

Students are wondering why the university won’t address the issue of additional parking, especially as we begin to grow again. It would be silly to build a parking garage on campus for financial reasons alone, but the need for more parking is a genuine issue.

The university and the administration must add more parking, especially as we increase our numbers.

All students want is to have their concerns heard, and what they need from the university is to find solutions to their day-to-day struggles, like finding a parking spot before class – not new hotels that they may never use while attending this great university.