Generously given to Lawrence students in 1963, Björklunden has been an iconic refuge for Lawrence students. Almost every Lawrentian falls in love with Lawrence’s other campus up north. Going at least once during a student’s time at Lawrence is considered a must, as the spectacular natural scenery can refresh even the most frazzled of students. Lawrence University higher-ups have noted how beloved this campus is and are considering opening up a new off campus location in Wisconsin.
Geoford Expandmore spearheaded this new plan for Lawrence expansion. Expandmore said, “Look, as a Lawrence alum, I know just how special Björklunden is. I know how special all places that Lawrence has a stake in are. That’s why I want to buy out the paper mill factory just down the river.”
When asked about how much it would cost to invest in the paper mill, Expandmore said, “It’s tacky to talk about money.” There is no clear way that Lawrence could fund this purchase.
Expandmore defended his financial decision, “We’re pairing with the Big Ol’ Center for Careers, Lives, and Community Engagements and Operations to see how this can be both beneficial for the students as well as the faculty. One proposed idea is Lawrence funded internships through the paper factory. Unlike Björklunden, which is a natural refuge, this will be an introduction into the workforce, and better preparing our students for what comes after Lawrence.” Expandmore contemplated what he said for a moment and added, “Experience is invaluable. Internships with even a little pay are becoming increasingly rare.”
Internships will include environmental opportunities in which students can learn about the ways that paper production impacts the environment. There is no better way to understand the harm corporations can do than to work for one. Another internship will be geared towards English majors. Expandmore explained, “They read and write on paper, so producing paper will help them to better understand their medium!”
Students will receive a small compensation for their time while working at the paper factory. The rest of the profit will go back into Lawrence. Expandmore broke out a white board and drew out how the process would work: “This way we will earn back the money initially poured into this decision and even more than that! That will, in turn, fund more student activities.” When questioned on whether or not it was tacky to talk about money, Expandmore refused to answer.
Expandmore shared more of his perspective, “It’s great because it’s so close! Björklunden is so far away that it’s difficult to dedicate that much time to it, especially for student athletes in season. This opportunity is very close by and will help students to get off of our regular campus. Burst that bubble, am I right?” Expandmore gave our interviewer a high five and danced the hustle.
While Björklunden is a beloved staple of Lawrence culture, there are always new horizons. Many are doubtful about this new deal. Students have protested daily. We’ll have to wait and see which way the tides turn.