There is no doubt that West Chester University works to promote a strong sense of community. Throughout my time here, WCU has presented many academic and extra-curricular opportunities which I found helpful in integrating myself within the “college lifestyle.” However, I do feel that there is one aspect of college life here at WCU that may have been glazed over: the building of a weekend atmosphere.
To keep it simple, I have found myself lacking plans for the weekend. It appears that half of the student body disappears and a significantly smaller amount of events are held. There is an overall feeling of stillness. Shuttles, too, are more limited; so those of us who do not have cars on campus are limited to spending time on campus or going downtown.
Being that I had hadn’t heard anyone else lament their weekend blues, I quickly chalked up my disappointment to my own over-expectation. That was until, one day, when one of my roommates came to talk to me and said something along the lines of,“Every Friday I start to see people leaving with backpacks and bags. The place becomes empty. Honestly, it’s so dead and abandoned. It pisses me off.”
Over time, I have begun to hear more of my friends and fellow classmates discussing similar sentiments. So why is it that that the weekends here seem to be so lacking and what can we, as students, do to fix it?
Personally, I think the first step is for a greater number of students to stay on campus during the weekend. I understand that people miss home, but, in my opinion, homesickness works in a contradictory way. The more we go home, the more homesick we become. I understand the importance of going home to visit family, friends and significant others and am in no way saying that people should never visit home; I just think weekend trips should be limited. If half of your heart is home and half of your heart is here in West Chester, you will struggle to fit into the community. If more students begin staying at WCU over the weekend, the campus will begin to feel less empty. There will be more room for significant events to occur if a greater amount of people are able to attend.
However, merely having students on-campus is not enough. In order to keep the interest of students and build a greater sense of community, the university and its moving parts must take action. As stated earlier, fewer events are held at Sykes on the weekend, and there are little-to-no club meetings. Dorms also seem to hold fewer events on the weekend. My RAs are often coming up with creative and interesting events; however, most take place on the weekdays. I think it would be much more effective to hold these events on weekends when people are looking for something to do, rather than weekdays when people are juggling classes and due dates. I also think that clubs could start holding additional meetings on weekends, or maybe the university itself could start holding more large-scale events in Sykes. Obviously, I am no master planner, but I do think WCU should plan more occasions for students.
I think all students can agree that we want WCU to feel like our home; Somewhere we can happily spend our time without feeling a pull towards our real home. Personally, I feel as though my college experience would come full circle if each week was capped off with excitement for the university. Better weekend life is something both students and our college need to work together on. For the students, I ask you to stick around for the weekends, although it may be hard at first. To all those who organize events here at WCU, I encourage you to look into holding more student events. Only when we all work hand-in-hand can we create a lively weekend atmosphere here at WCU.
Samantha Batty is a first-year student English writings major. SB908125@wcupa.edu