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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

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Editorial — Mixed blessings come with increased campus enrollment

Harry Stine/NW
RETURNING TO NORMAL — Lydia M. Olson Library, once an often empty area, once again has students regularly studying and conversing. While many enjoy the liveliness, some prefer having a bit more space to study.

After a dip in enrollment during the past few years, enrollment on campus has finally begun to increase. The halls are now filled with students, many of whom are completely new faces for the campus. The North Wind Editorial board decided to sit down to discuss our thoughts and feelings about seeing a packed campus.

For most of the current North Wind staff, few saw campus at capacity before COVID-19 hit, making this a nice change of pace. Having more students on campus has led to some feeling greater feelings of living a full college experience. More people on campus has made Northern feel more “lived in” and helps create a sense of community around the area. 

Having more students enrolled at Northern also adds more to the social side of college. With more people around, there are more opportunities to interact with classmates and create meaningful connections. This can be seen in activities such as the “Pick One” event, which encourages students to get involved in different events on campus, bolstering the community to take advantage of the area.

Some senior members of staff commented on the post-COVID-19 feeling the semester has brought. Just three years ago, students were starting their time at Northern with hard restrictions on allowing guests in dorms, eating in the dining hall and studying in Jamrich. With masks gone and classes more full than they’ve been in years, it’s given a small amount of shock.

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In addition, some seniors expressed nostalgia from having to interact with freshmen again, almost seeing it as a way of looking back in time. Looking back and remembering you were a freshman not too long ago is an interesting feeling, as well as finding humor in sophomores who tease freshmen, despite barely being removed from their freshman year.

Of course, some enjoyed the greater sense of space with less students on campus. Having a little room to breathe when walking between classes is understandable, and having to navigate a packed hallway when rushing to your next class can be difficult. Escaping to the library for some peace and quiet to study isn’t as much of a viable option as it once was. If you lean towards the introverted end of the social spectrum, then having more students around isn’t exactly a blessing.

It should also be added that increased enrollment has not helped the parking situation on campus. Ever since Lot 36 was switched from a commuter lot to a residential lot, little has been done to create more parking for students. In fact, no other commuter lots have been added, effectively creating less space for students who live off campus. If you take a drive around campus, it’s hard to ignore the amount of cars parked just off campus property.

In all, despite some shortcomings, having more students enrolled at Northern is a good thing. There’s more people to interact with, learn from, and even to ignore as you try to find a quiet corner to study in. Being able to watch the next generation of Northern students is quite the sight, although a few more places to park would be nice.

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