The renovations and innovations around the Wake Forest campuses are putting Wake Forest at the forefront of universities around the country.
From new residence halls to new majors and an entirely new part of campus in the heart of downtown Winston-Salem, it’s amazing to witness how quickly and how much Wake Forest is updating its resources. So many new opportunities are becoming available to students and many of the resources we already have are getting new coats of wax to truly make them shine.
But despite the groundbreaking progress and rapid changes made on Wake Forest campuses, one thing that has stood firm is the three-year on-campus living requirement. There are obviously many benefits for undergraduates who live on campus, but the three-year requirement is counterproductive to the developments that Wake Forest is trying to pursue, especially its investments in Wake Downtown.
One problem with Wake Downtown is its distance from campus. To get students more involved with Wake Downtown, students need some proximity to generate interest. For students with busy weekday schedules and equally busy weekends, dedicating the time towards commuting and staying at Innovation Quarter for a prolonged amount of time can be too much of a hassle. And although the shuttle that goes downtown is timely and runs fairly frequently, missing a shuttle that only comes every 15 minutes also becomes something to plan around.
To make use of the resources downtown, students need to portion off significant parts of their days to accommodate for travel and spending time away from the Reynolda campus, which is inconvenient and sometimes frustrating. Simply trying to fit in the time needed to be at Innovation Quarter drives many students away from even going.
One solution for having more students at the Innovation Quarter would be to amend the three-year on-campus living requirement. The amendment wouldn’t completely abolish the on-campus living requirement though because I believe that the requirement does have merit, especially for freshmen students who are new to the Wake Forest community and campus. Living on campus is an integral part of forming community, making memories and setting the foundation for your Wake Forest experience.
But for third-year students and some second-years, the necessity for living on-campus is creating more problems than solving them, especially for science majors that will take many classes downtown.
Having to live on the Reynolda campus but spend most of the day downtown away from your own room is a serious inconvenience. This forces students to carry all the day’s supplies with them without the ability to quickly grab something they forgot or need. I believe Wake Forest should look into possibly changing the on-campus living requirement if they want students to take advantage of all the new resources the university is offering them downtown.