The campus center is growing rapidly. The land bridge is starting to look like a real bridge. Along with all of this change, there are less positive changes in the works as well. All of the dining venues and office space will be centralized in one building, which is not centrally located.The idea of the campus center is to have an integrated location for everything and anything, a sort of campus nucleus. It’s a logical idea; it makes sense. Yet there are problems with this notion: Although the center will have more than one eating venue, the fact of the venues’ situation under the same roof means that everyone will have to go to one building to eat and do other things.
This is an unpleasant idea for a reason that might seem strange to the administration. The Lucy’s and Downer crowds are pretty much distinct groups.
If you mostly eat at Lucy’s, it’s because you’re a devotee of the cozy atmosphere, the bright windows and the quiet lunch hour. If you eat at Downer, you do so because of its varied food choices and places to sit; as well as the larger social atmosphere and proximity to several big residence halls.
Being able to choose between these two options is actually vital for many students, particularly when it comes to breakfast. It will be terribly inconvenient for breakfast-eaters living on the west side of campus once Lucy’s closes. There’s nothing nicer on a cold morning than being able to run to Lucy’s for a warm muffin and coffee. Even if you’re running late for class, it doesn’t take more than a couple of minutes.
Besides dining facilities, most offices will also be centralized in the center, such as the ones residing in Raymond, Brokaw and the Union. While this may be convenient, it lacks variety in the places students travel. As it is, southeast-side residents have little reason to travel to the west side of campus unless a trip to a Brokaw office is necessary or they want to eat at Lucy’s. Once the campus center is completed, there will be no reason for southeast side residents to even bother with Brokaw.
Arguably, a little campus cohesion might not be a bad thing. Maybe if we all had to go to the same place to do such things as eat, buy odd supplies and go to meetings, there would be more interaction, especially between con and college, humanities and science. However, Lawrentians do not currently lack for interaction. We do not need to be forced together. There is something to be said, however, for the character and convenience that comes with our decentralized campus. Certainly, the advantages of the campus center far outweigh its disadvantages, but it is clear that the campus dynamic will change drastically with the completion of the new campus center. We encourage the administration to maintain the unique charm and convenience of our campus despite this centralization. Places like Lucinda’s, the Union and Downer have sentimental weight for Lawrence alumni (and current students) stemming back to the 1950s. This is an important heritage that Lawrence is ignoring by attempting to prove itself a contemporary institution.