Without prodding, students often complain about certain aspects of the University. And now, the University is encouraging these grievances, specifically about North Campus.
As part of the North Campus Initiative started by E. Royster Harper, the University’s vice president of student affairs, students are invited to participate in a forum called “The North Campus Rant: The Good, The Bad, and The Dude!” The event, that will be held tonight, will allow students to voice their opinions on what’s working and what could be improved on North Campus. The goals of the North Campus Initiative are twofold: to find ways to draw more students to North Campus and to improve the experience for students who already frequent the campus.
Harper told students at a fireside chat at the Northwood Community Center last month that the University is eager to make North Campus more attractive to students.
“The idea is to take what’s so wonderful and beautiful about North Campus and build on it rather than fighting it …” Harper said at the fireside chat. “(We’re) just trying to think about what’s unique about North Campus that we could do that would make it feel less secluded or less isolated, so you’d have both the trees and the squirrels and the muskrats and all that, but sometimes a little bit of a party atmosphere.”
Elizabeth Zollweg, project manager of the North Campus Initiative, who organized tonight’s event, said the project is trying to improve existing programs on North Campus by increasing student awareness of what is offered there. Zollweg said she invited Harper, members of the Division of Student Affairs Assembly and Loren Rullman, associate vice president of student affairs, to attend tonight’s event at the Pierpont Commons Café at 6 p.m.
The program doesn’t currently have a set budget, but Zollweg said making improvements on North Campus is an important goal for the University.
“If Michigan is going to strive to be the leaders and best, this is something that needs to be a high priority for students up there to really feel that they are the Leaders and Best,” she said.
Some future activities on North Campus may include outdoor concerts and ice skating on the pond, Harper said.
The initiative is a collaborative effort between several entities including the College of Engineering, University Unions Arts and Programs, the Michigan Student Assembly North Campus Commission and the Residence Hall Association, according to Zollweg.
A survey regarding North Campus has already been administered to students, Zollweg said. The survey showed that many students were concerned with the accessibility of University Health Services for sick students on North Campus. Zollweg added that students also requested better lighting throughout North Campus and more social events.
Speaking in anticipation of tonight’s event, Zollweg said she wants to hear more about what students want in terms of services and programs on North Campus.
“(It is) an opportunity for students to voice their reactions, their needs … what they want,” Zollweg said. “North Campus has the potential to be fabulous.”
— Daily News Editor Joseph Lichterman and Managing Editor Kyle Swanson contributed to this report.