For years, the common complaint among underclassmen residents has been the statement that there is “nothing to do” on campus. Of course, this isn’t completely true. SVSU puts a great deal of work into keeping residents engaged with speakers, events and activities throughout the year in addition to providing them with plenty of opportunities to get involved. There are more than 100 registered student organizations on campus and an intramural recreation program that grows every year. As a campus newspaper, the Vanguard prides itself not only on covering these activities and organizations, but in raising awareness of them, as well.
Still, the complaint does exist, and you don’t have to look much further than the freshman parking lot on any given weekend to see the proof.
It is also true that many of the things to do on weekends at SVSU involve trekking significantly off campus, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, assuming you have a car to get you there. Part of what makes Saginaw Valley unique is that it is less than 30 minutes away from Bay City and Midland, both cities with active art and entertainment communities.
While many students who choose SVSU come to enjoy it, either quickly or gradually, for its close-knit, community atmosphere, the adjustment period many freshmen go through can sometimes be influenced by the craving for the “big-school” or “college-city” setting that many of their friends experience at larger state universities.
This, too, is justified. SVSU is not, by any means, a large campus. While it has made impressive progress in recent years with improvements such as campus renovations, new buildings and nighttime (and nationally televised) football games, the campus can sometimes feel contained within itself, separated from the cities that often play a role in shaping college-town atmospheres.
Director of Alumni Relations Kevin Schultz said Kochville Township’s vision is for campus residents to be able to walk into a district from Pierce Road that will eventually lead them to Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club off Bay Road. It’s hard to imagine, but that kind of development would bring Kochville Township and SVSU together at a whole new level.
While we hope that the businesses are not copies of what is already offered at SVSU, such as Starbucks, we believe that the mini-mall will be an invaluable investment for recruiting freshmen and keeping them at SVSU. For now, the district is estimated to include restaurants and hair salons, among other businesses – no amusement park, but The Vanguard considers it a great first step.
The mini-mall could also provide more job opportunities for students who are new to Saginaw, or who have a hard time making it off campus to work due to a lack of transportation.
While we’re mainly looking at the mini-mall from the university’s point of view, it’s true that both sides will reap rewards – while Kochville board members have opposed a project like this for some time, our guess is that the township will be rewarded for its investment with a steady flow of customers, many of whom will be grateful to find “something to do.” It is more than just an embrace of commerce; it is an embrace of the university, and a collaboration that should benefit all parties involved.