Opinion: Upperclassmen won’t enjoy Kent development

Jody Michael

Jody Michael

Jody Michael is a senior news major and opinion editor for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact Jody Michael at [email protected].

Take a moment to realize just how much Kent is changing lately. It started with the Risman Plaza and University Library renovations in 2010 and continued with the Acorn Alley expansion and the various new student apartment complexes. Now the Student Green is almost done, as well as the downtown Davey Tree and Ametek building, the university hotel and the multimodal transit center. But that’s not the end, because still to come are construction projects for the science, technology, art and architecture schools.

Oh wait, I almost forgot a couple things: Quaker Steak and Lube is taking over the Student Center basement; CVS rebuilt its downtown pharmacy; the esplanade is about to extend; the Wells Sherman House is moving; we have a Five Guys; we will have a Dunkin’ Donuts; the new Fairchild Avenue bridge leads to the new Sheetz; Bowman Hall and the Music and Speech Center received renovations; the baseball stadium will soon have lights; Allerton and the Robin Hood are gone; Buffalo Wild Wings is moving into the old Kent Hotel; and Summit Street will soon replace a few intersections with roundabouts.

Did I miss anything? I probably did because it’s difficult to keep track of it all. Never in my life have I been anywhere that has changed so drastically as Kent has since I was a freshman in 2009.

Of course, much of the new projects are things I will have very little, if any, time to enjoy before I hopefully graduate in May. Any conversation I have with a fellow upperclassman about all the construction is likely to include someone saying something along the lines of, “It’s a shame that by the time this is all done, we’ll be long gone. Especially since it was our tuition money that paid for a lot of it.”

That’s true. It sucks. The odds are high I will end up with a job somewhere much too far away from The Pita Pit. Yet I’m not sure just how jealous and wronged we upperclassmen should feel.

For one thing, we had the privilege of experiencing a lot of things that the underclassmen never will. My favorite pizza and chicken places on campus are still Pete’s Arena and Sunset Strips, respectively, and neither of them has been in existence since 2010. Half of the student body has never even heard of those places. (Do all my memories involve food?)

That’s not all. I remember the days when the PARTA buses would actually come every six minutes like the bus schedule says they do. I miss the years when we were good enough to beat Akron in men’s basketball, and when at least some of the students were aware the team advanced to the Elite Eight back in 2002. I have fond memories of when May 4 wasn’t during exam week and the university would cancel classes during the annual commemoration.

Ultimately, Kent State will probably be around for eons, and each graduating class will probably cherish memories of something nobody else got to experience. Surely alumni still brag about the football team’s only ever conference title in 1972 or the aforementioned 2002 basketball team, much like students from 1977 will never forget the protests against building what is now the M.A.C. Center Annex. And did you know Muse performed here for FlashFest in 2005?

I suppose that’s one of the unspoken positives of these constant changes in Kent. It ensures everyone’s experience here will be a little different, which makes those experiences just a little more special. Well, except for you newcomers who get to spend four years staring at that waste of money called the Student Green. I guess I don’t envy you after all.