Students living on Central Campus hardly ever have a reason to go to North Campus. The University’s Board of Regents is trying to change that with the North Campus Grove project. On April 17, the regents approved a plan to invest $6.9 million into renovating the outdoor spaces on North Campus. University administrators hope this will promote a sense of community within North Campus itself and between the two campuses. The area is an integral part of the University that should be better incorporated into the student experience during their college careers, and the North Campus Grove project will do just that.

With the assistance of gifts, the College of Engineering will be funding the Grove project. The project itself will focus on four acres of land surrounding the Lurie Tower. These renovations include building a brick plaza which will be able to fit about 800 people and will act as a site for students to hold meetings and special events. Engineering Dean Dave Munson has said there are also plans to construct an amphitheater. Munson also noted that a sandlot volleyball court and an ice-skating rink are being considered. The project will also plant trees, add walkways and seating and improve lighting.

With North Campus so far removed from the restaurants and bars of Central Campus, there is a noticeable difference in student life between the two. An apparent lack of nightlife causes many students to spend much of their free time on Central Campus. Some students appreciate North Campus’s quietude, but many feel there is a lack of activities to engage in. By constructing a new plaza and amphitheater, students on North Campus may be more inclined to hold public events and gatherings, — promoting a sense of community. Furthermore, North Campus houses about 60 percent of all freshmen at the University, the students for whom creating a sense of community is most important in their inaugural year in college.

Many students living on Central Campus rarely go to North Campus. With such a large portion of the student body residing in that area, it is important to foster a more connected community between the two campuses. By providing spaces like the volleyball court and ice rink, students on Central Campus may be more tempted to make the trip. The University should work to create more such social spaces, like restaurants or cafes, to emulate the attractions of Central Campus. Additionally, the University should ensure the bus schedule runs on its 10-minute schedule to make the trip between campuses more convenient for students.

Despite the lack of restaurants and bars, North Campus is home to many amazing installations that students miss out on due to the lack of intercampus community. From the musicals and plays at the Arthur Miller Theater to the Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments in the School of Music, Theater and Dance, North Campus caters to a wide range of interests. By encouraging intercampus communities, the North Campus Grove project will expose more students to these underutilized resources.

Traveling to and living on North Campus has long been considered a hassle by students. But these new renovations to the outdoor areas will be a first step to ending that reputation. The University should work to create more such social spaces, like restaurants or cafes, to create a truly connected community.

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