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Restoring the Value of East Campus

If we were to go back to 1903 when Western Michigan University was first built, we wouldn’t have known anything of West Campus (Main Campus).

East Campus, located on Oakland, is the original WMU. With buildings like East Hall, West Hall, North Hall and the speech and hearing center, WMU was built on the idea of being a research institution and we still are with the recently built Parkview campus, the plans of expanding the aviation program and the proposed idea of a medical school.

As students, we should all take the time to check out East Campus, or at least what’s left of it. With everything being closed off besides the gym that now holds the WMU Archives and Southwestern Michigan History Collection, it would be nice if we could see some of it restored.

Now, I’m not saying that we’re going to see East Campus fully renovated while many of us are in school, but with our support through Students for East Campus, a registered student organization (RSO) that raises awareness to students and the community of Kalamazoo and Friends of East Campus, a non-profit organization made up of community members and alumni, we can speed up the process of seeing E.C. renovated.

I had a chance to talk to Scott Slagor, president of Students for East Campus and this week’s Campus Cutie, about why E.C. is so important.

“It gives that feel of how a campus should feel,” said Slagor.

As many of you have noticed, main campus doesn’t exactly have those old school buildings with pillars and make you feel like you’re on some historic site. East Campus gives you all of that.

“Western [Michigan] has lost a lot of its campus culture. We have Bronco Bash which brings the community together, but other than that we don’t have a lot that pulls us together as a campus.”

One issue raising some people’s eyebrows, especially those who frequently use the archives, is the talk of moving them to the old Kmart on Stadium and Drake. By moving the archives to K-mart, it creates a larger gap between campus and students.

This week, March 30, is Myth Buster Panel night where many questions will be answered, like how much money it would actually take to repair East Hall or what about all of the asbestos and other harmful things coming from East Campus’ buildings.

The most important thing going on with Students for East Campus is happening on April 16. East Campus Awareness Day will be trying to get students involved with the community and promote awareness. With the help of Friends of East Campus they’re looking for an outcome of hopefully 1,000 people. So if you’re free April 16, stop by Oakland Drive and support East Campus.

If you’re interested in what is going on with East Campus, the Students for E.C. meet every Tuesday night at 9:15 p.m. in Room 159 of the BHC.

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