In The Office – Pessimist converts to sunnier side of Oswego

While driving across campus the other day, something hit me. Pretty hard too.

It was something that, despite going through campus hundreds of times, never actually struck me like this before.

No, I’m not talking about another car. Or a squirrel that ran astray. It was pride. And not just any pride, but pride in my college.

Before I continue, I’d like to preface that I am not a "school spirit" type of guy. Anyone that knows me can assure you of that. But there is just something about the structural and intellectual enhancements going on here at Oswego State that are starting to make me think twice about my usual pessimism toward our college.

It could be the fact that seeing this gaudy Village project being built right before my eyes has helped me turn the corner in my indifference toward our college. Compared to living in the cubicles all of us are subjected to right now in the normal dorms, these townhouses have the chance to be something special.

Or maybe it’s the renovation that will apparently transform Wilber, Park, and Piez from academic atrocities into a building that actually looks like it was built before the American Civil War. Plus, if that wasn’t enough, the local eyesore that is Snygg Hall will likely be razed and turned into a much-needed parking lot, essentially making the project a double bonus.

All I know is that I like the direction Oswego State is going. The cherished Campus Center is already the crown jewel on campus, and it’s only been around for three years. It has easily become a cultural and social melting pot; something that I bet has never truly been had here on such a white-bread campus.

It’s not just the renovation aspect that gives me hope either. The amount of kids seeking admissions has also skyrocketed, making Oswego State more selective in who they admit. The time of just letting in anyone who filled out a basic application is gone; now we handpick those who actually strive to succeed.

That said, it’s not all sunshine and happiness in Laker Land. There is still a laundry list of things that can, and should, be done to improve our college’s image, starting with the academic quad.

I’ve always been a firm believer that the quad of a campus should be the heart of the college, and if that’s true than someone better get us a defibrillator stat.

I’m sure the skaters and the people who play kickball bi-weekly in September love the quad, but for the rest of us it’s just a long, desolate stretch of cement that prevents us from getting to our classes and out of the cold earlier than we should.

Will we ever have a lively and enthralling quad like prestigious schools such as Syracuse or SUNY Albany? Probably not, but at least consider giving us something better than a bunch of dull cookie-cutter buildings. The fact that we can make a replica of our quad out of Legos just by putting down a square Lego for each building is incredibly disheartening.

But while there is still a way to go, the fact of the matter is administrators are showing they have our and future students’ interests in mind when they’ve decided to spend these millions of dollars for each project, and that’s encouraging. It certainly feels good knowing that officials aren’t content with the standards set by their predecessors and are actually willing to help this aging college adapt to the 21st century.

Add the administration’s attempts to modernize the campus to the fact that academic standards are also rising, and that may just be the winning formula to putting Oswego State on the map.

I’m no prophet, but I feel like there’s a decent chance in a couple decades that if I go into an interview and they see my resume, they might actually say, "Oh wow, you went to Oswego State University."

And for that reason, I’ve finally become a believer.