Students must to get used to the new NAU
It is no mystery NAU is in a period of change. Everywhere we look, we are reminded of the ongoing shift in the Lumberjack image. Random holes on the pedways, the emergence of new buildings, ongoing renovations and an expanding student population all serve as daily reminders that the NAU some of us first came to is different.
Many of us chose NAU for its small class sizes and intimate feel, or simply what ASU and UA couldn’t offer. But now, as NAU undergoes an extreme makeover, students are beginning to ask the question: “at what cost?” Yes, NAU may be taking steps away from the original home we all grew to love, but my message back to the students is simple: Get used to it.
As NAU expands, there will be negative side effects — there’s no doubt about that. We as students are now used to seeing class sizes increase. LOUIE enrollment times are becoming even more competitive as more students vie for seats in quickly filling classes. Upperclassmen are faced with uncertainty about housing as Residence Life scrambles to house the growing student population and plans leave students’ housing destinies to chance in the housing lottery this coming year. The ever-apparent construction on north campus — from new buildings, to old ones, to mysterious fenced-off holes — has become a familiar sight. Finding a remote spot to study at Cline has become a challenge, the ability to successfully bike down the pedway is now a survival skill and grabbing a fork at the Hot Spot has become treasure hunt. So yes, the students have fair argument that NAU is changing and has already morphed.
But NAU officials have a fair defense: Enrollment is up across the country. For several consecutive years, the entire nation has seen higher freshman enrollment rates, making NAU not alone in its growing numbers. Also, it is no secret Arizona — as well as the U.S. — is facing economic blight. As the state continues to slash the educational budget, NAU must counter with students paying tuition to keep us current Lumberjacks locked in to our individual “four years, one great rate.” With more students, challenges must be overcome by different campus departments, such as Residence Life (which guarantees housing to all incoming freshmen who meet a priority deadline). This is the reality we as students must face. Yes, NAU is shifting, but we can’t to hold our school to unrealistic expectations.
As far as construction is concerned, we often seem to forget the ultimate goal. Physical NAU expansion is meant to eventually benefit the student body. With two new buildings, the Health and Wellness Center and the Native American Cultural Center, set to open in fall 2011, a majority of our student body will be able to enjoy both of these top-of-the line facilities.
NAU has changed and will continue to. It’s a tough pill for students to swallow, but it’s one that needs to be choked down; the reality NAU faces is inevitable. To be true members of Lumberjack country, we have to accept this and continue to be thankful NAU can still maintain a major part of its image.