Class of '16, returning students greeted by campus transformations

Students and other members of the Clark University community who had been away during the summer were greeted by many changes to the campus landscape.

The transformation of a portion of Downing Street—from Florence to Woodland streets—into a pedestrian plaza was among a host of physical changes, including an expansion of the Fuller Quad and a 10,000-square-foot addition connecting the Sanford and Johnson residence halls. The Kneller Athletic Center sported refinished court floors and new bleachers. (In the practice of Sustainable Clark, the old pine bleachers were donated to the Worcester public schools for use in shop and carpentry classes.) A new engine was installed at Clark’s famous cogeneration plant to reduce emissions and improve energy efficiency. Even the Bistro has a new look and a sushi bar added by Sodexo in partnership with the University.

Photos of Clark campus renovations and Move-in Day are online. 

President David Angel outlined many of the changes in his welcoming message to the Class of 2016, “one of the largest incoming classes in recent history with approximately 600 talented and interesting new Clarkies from all across the United States and around the world.”

In his message, President Angel discussed the Downing Street plaza that replaces a section of roadway with a greenway. “With our campus a hub of activity—day and night—we became increasingly concerned about automobile traffic running through a busy section of the center of campus. Beyond safety concerns, the pedestrian plaza unites and opens up connections between many of our most heavily used buildings.”

Angel revealed plans for a Downing Street/Fuller Quad Block Party and Johnson-Sanford Center Open House, from 4 to 6 p.m. on Sept. 14, to “celebrate the opening of this terrific new outdoor space.”

Angel went on to explain some of the less visible changes that took place at Clark during the summer:  “Several important offices serving students have been relocated on campus. As part of our new Liberal Education and Effective Practice (LEEP) undergraduate program, we are moving to integrate and enhance advising and career support, connecting students with additional internships, mentoring, and other opportunities on- and off-campus.”

To facilitate this new approach to student support, numerous offices are being brought together initially in a LEEP Center located in Dana Commons, Angel said. The LEEP Center includes staff from Career Services, Study Abroad, Community Engagement, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Writing Center, and parts of Academic Advising. The Academic Advancement and the Office of Intercultural Affairs are now located in Corner House. Disability Services are now located on the fourth floor of Goddard Library in a fully accessible location. The new location of the Graduate School Office is 138 Woodland Street.

The summer of 2013 was one of tremendous change for both the physical and aesthetic nature of the Clark University campus, attributing the university with a modern and visually appealing feel, binding together portions of campus physically, but more largely, the first-year population with the rest of campus, which was not previously so,” wrote Clark University Student Council President Andrew Schuschu.

Although Schuschu reported that he has heard mixed reactions and some strong opinions about the expenditures from upperclassmen, he said, “The leading attribute of these renovations has been the tighter and safer knit community.”