Fall break scheduled for same weekend as WMU game in Detroit
A 2020 Fall Wellness Break is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 19 and Tuesday, Oct. 20. The break immediately follows the Central Michigan-Western Michigan rivalry football game set for Oct. 17.
Moving the football game from Kelly/Shorts Stadium to Ford Field in Detroit was met with frustration from local businesses and community leaders. However, with Fall break potentially attracting more students to Detroit, Western Weekend is also a strategic move to increase enrollment.
"We are very excited that fall break has been officially implemented in our university's calendar," said Student Government Association President Jake Hendricks. "The CMU Student Government Association had been advocating for this change for more than two years, working to bring community members together and foster support for the idea."
Members of SGA examined a spike of counseling center appointments around the beginning of October, over eight academic years. This data was crucial in crafting a resolution to implement a fall break in CMU's academic calendar.
During the Feb. 12 CMU Board of Trustees Student Liason Committee meeting, President Bob Davies originally expressed concerns in regards to scheduling the break.
“The recommendation (from SGA) was to have (fall break) on Monday and Tuesday, have it sometime in October, and preferably somewhere near the beginning and to have it before the eighth week due to online students,” Davies said. “Two other very important suggestions were to not do it on Homecoming Weekend and not to do it on Western Michigan Football Weekend.”
Despite past concerns, Fall Break is scheduled directly after Western weekend strategically.
"It's important that we foster relationships with alumni, prospective students, and the community of Detroit," Hendricks said. "Many of our students come from the area, and it is a great opportunity to bring game day to a new setting which will attract fanfare."
Inner-city Detriot and the surrounding areas have been critical areas for recruiting prospective students. About 30% of current CMU on-campus students hail from southeast Michigan according to an Oct. 2019 University Communications release.
In addition, 46,000 CMU graduates live in the metro Detroit region of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. Scheduling Fall Break and Western Weekend in unison will provide students with a much-needed break at a difficult point in the academic year and also serve as a strategic move to boost enrollment.
"Scheduling the break on Western weekend will be a great opportunity for students," Hendricks said. "With the extra days off, they could take the time to experience the game at Ford Field in Detroit, or enjoy a much-needed rest at home with friends and family."