The class of 2012 has stepped onto this campus, unassuming, on the cusp of a period of transition and change at this university. Though administrators are fond of making drastic comparisons between today’s Carnegie Mellon and the school it was in the early 1990s, it is becoming increasingly clear that this school has even more momentum today than it ever did. Over the next few years, new buildings and new faces will change the way things are done at Carnegie Mellon and the results have the potential to be staggering.
Carnegie Mellon master-planners have reason to be excited: the behemoth latticework of the Gates Center has finally risen out of the depths of the West Campus. Soon, a hotel will be erected on the site of the old Exxon gas station next to the Junction Hollow Bridge to accommodate sharp increases in visiting prospective students and families. Across the street, where old storefronts have been removed and some houses have already been leveled, the second phase of the Collaborative Innovation Center will be Carnegie Mellon’s first major construction project on the west side of Junction Hollow.
With these puzzle pieces in place, Carnegie Mellon will truly be in a position to realize its long-standing goal of extending its campus down Craig Street and into North and Central Oakland.
While any student can tell that the Gates Center is going up, even some of the most attentive students may not see some other equally important changes that are going on at the university. This year, the university will see a new Dean of Student Affairs and a new Vice President for Campus Affairs. For students and student organization leaders, this is big news and brings with it the potential for great change.
Jennifer Church and Bill Elliott, Dean of Student Affairs and VP for Enrollment, respectively, were both enormous assets to the university and friends of The Tartan. Both will be sorely missed. Michael Murphy, who succeeded Elliott last spring, is an eminently capable leader; the university was fortunate to keep him in Warner Hall three years ago, and made an excellent decision in promoting him to Vice President last semester. Carnegie Mellon will be actively searching for a new Dean of Student Affairs for the next school year.
On top of these staffing changes, Carnegie Mellon has also just finished a successful capital campaign, increasing the university’s endowment by millions, and a successful round of town hall meetings that will guide the development of a new 10-year strategic plan.
During this time of transition, both within the administration and as Carnegie Mellon grows into an even stronger local and national powerhouse, high quality student input — and lots of it — will be of the utmost importance. I talk about the potential for change, but just what changes will occur will be up to us — the students. Students, and student organization leaders in particular, will need to make advising and advocating part of their weekly schedules in order to make sure the changes going on at this university are consistent with our causes, our interests, and our needs.
For our part, The Tartan would like to open up its editorial page to student organization leaders who want to be advocates for their organization’s concerns and causes. For years, The Tartan has run a Presidential Perspectives column, which has given the Student Body President and Vice President the chance to address student concerns and update the community on their progress and accomplishments. This year, Presidential Perspectives becomes Leadership Perspectives. Jared and Pooja have agreed to share their column with the over 250 student organization leaders on campus, giving them a chance to lobby for their organization’s concerns and issues in front of the entire Carnegie Mellon community.
I sincerely hope that the new retooled column will be a forum for pressing issues facing student organizations, and will highlight real problems we can work on, discussions we can engage in, and accomplishments we can be proud of.