On Jan. 27, the West Chester University Board of Trustees held their first meeting of the year. Those in attendance were given a look into WCU’s current happenings as well as a glimpse into its future. Along with talks of present and upcoming projects, there were many interesting facts and statistics mentioned regarding the university, including the ROTC program going from nine enrollees last year to 44 this year. Attendees were also informed that WCU’s athletic program as a whole ranked twelfth among all Division 2 schools in the country.
After getting past the positive statistics, it was time to get into what was going on around campus. The renovation of Mitchell Hall was completed shortly before the spring semester began, giving the language department their own building to operate from as well as more classrooms, which were described as “sorely needed.” The contracts have been negotiated for building the new dining hall, which will replace the Lawrence Dining Hall. The other part of these contracts is the demolition of the boiler plant. The plant no longer has use to the school, as all buildings are now heated with geothermal energy or natural gas. The new dining hall will stand where the boiler plant did, and will be four stories tall to accommodate the ever-growing student population.
The university budget is now available online for all to see. WCU President Greg Weisenstein said this was done to promote transparency and to encourage community involvement. The possibility of WCU being advertised on the large LED screen on the school’s Philadelphia campus, which was discussed at the Jan. 27 Student Government Association meeting, is now a reality. For six months, West Chester University ads will be seen on the second largest LED screen in Philadelphia.
The commencement ceremony for spring graduations has undergone a big change. Due to consistent weather troubles in past years, the ceremonies will now take place indoors, rather than at Farrell Stadium. Each college will be split into two days to prevent overcrowding.
Another bit of news given was the launch of WCU Mobile, West Chester’s very own app. The app is now available on Google Play.
Eventually it came time to get into the real numbers and start discussing this year’s costs. One board member stated that there were some “eye-opening budget numbers.” Whether this was a positive or negative gesture, it was followed with an interesting fact: every university with the same tuition price as WCU has seen declining enrollment, yet WCU has not. In fact, West Chester University’s enrollment is still climbing. This fact, however, was followed by President Weisenstein saying undergraduate tuition is “slightly off” this semester, another indefinite description for the important numbers. The board’s studies also suggest that undergrad tuition could be raised and enrollment will still increase. The president stated that it would stay as is, despite these findings.
When one board member asked if there was any possibility of undergraduate tuition being reduced, the president said it could not be done due to the rise of mandatory costs that are out of the school’s control. In an effort to take pressure off of the tuition price, it was suggested that the university increase distance education to encourage more enrollment.
As the meeting drew to an end, council chairman Thomas Fillippo talked about the attention and positive news WCU was receiving and stated, “I think the world has discovered West Chester.” Fillippo seemed to bring a sense of optimism not only to the meeting, but also to the future of the university.
Adding onto that, President Weisenstein said that he has been seeing more and more West Chester merchandise being worn and displayed outside of the area, including the new “Accepted to West Chester” car sticker.
“It’s becoming a status symbol to be accepted to WCU,” Weisenstein remarked.