Class of 2000

The following article was pulled from the Cord archives; Dated Dec. 1, 1999

I’m a member of the class of 2000. As a class, we’re probably the luckiest group of students currently attending university.

Not only did we avoid graduated licensing and deregulation, we entered the university system when classes were still small, professors were well – or over – qualified and there were enough residence rooms for almost everyone.

Even better still, we left university before schools, cities and students faced some of their greatest challenges yet.

Just as preparations were necessary to minimize the impact of the Y2K bug, so too are changes required to minimize the damages to the university system brought on by excessive growth.

The double cohort is coming: nearly twice the number of eligible students applying for a single year’s enrollment – how’s that for math? If high school marks are inflated now, I can only imagine how teachers will be pressured to “tough up” grades so students can get into the institution of their choice.

Laurier’s senate recently passed an outline of its requirements for students graduating from the fourth-year high school program. Students will be expected to have four “University Preparation” classes related to their programs of choice in order to apply. The process sounds familiar, but the ramifications are difficult to predict.

For student unions, younger students will result in lower revenues at campus bars and a dry Orientation Week. For academic committees, less-educated students will require more generalized courses and specific program counseling. With its admission requirements nearly finalized, Laurier is one step ahead – but, as a “small school,” Laurier could easily get left behind.
Soon after universities manage the increased enrollment, they will face the forecasted retirement and potential shortage of professors. Already Laurier relies quite heavily on part-time instructors for many of its arts courses.

I don’t know about you, but the qualifications of my professors were very important to me when choosing which school I would attend. If a school cannot offer the right mix of educators to suit its students, the value of the education is compromised.

In terms of housing issues, the City of Waterloo needs to work with Laurier and UW to come up with mutually beneficial solutions. Even when I was in first-year, students scrambled to find second-year housing far before the Housing List was published in March.

Waterloo businesses thrive on student money, and there is little doubt that more students are on their way to the city. Would it be feasible to make the whole city a university town?

I’d be happy just to see a grocery store within a 10-minute walk from the majority of student housing areas. Are housing and food too much to ask for?

Wake up Waterloo. If you think city residents are angry with students now, wait until Laurier and UW expand, maximize their land and bring in up to 30,000 more noisy, messy and hungry university students. And if you think students will settle for over-crowded apartments and overpriced food, think again.

Universities, municipal and provincial governments and students have a lot to wake up to on Jan. 1, 2000.

With luck on my side, I think I’ll take my diploma and start buying lottery tickets.

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