Editorial: Dear incoming students

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Dear class of 2024, we are very excited for your arrival at Lehigh.

As you are a few short months away from beginning your Lehigh career, we want to address a few key pointers as the nerves and excitement begin to kick in. 

We, the editorial board of The Brown and White, are all upperclassmen at Lehigh and have covered every angle and aspect of the school. We know this institution like the back of our hands. 

However, the first thing we want to address is COVID-19, a topic that is full of unknowns and one that is evolving every day.  

The effect that COVID-19 has had on every student’s life at different levels is unprecedented. We can’t imagine the hardship your class must be facing right now with the uncertainty of how the pandemic will impact the opening chapter of your Lehigh experience.

The first semester of a student’s Lehigh experience is a key period of their college career. It is a time when many students solidify friendships, adjust to the rigorous academic expectations, and transition to a new and exciting independent life away from home.

We really hope that this ongoing pandemic does not snatch that opening experience away from you. You worked hard throughout your high school career to get accepted into Lehigh and deserve the “normal” experience.

That being said, as we all continue to hope we return to normalcy as soon as possible, we would like to address your class about what to expect upon arrival at Lehigh. 

Located on the side of a mountain amidst beautiful trees and historic buildings, Lehigh is an aesthetically gorgeous school. As for the surrounding area, there is a pre-existing narrative that South Bethlehem is a sketchy place. We would like to dismantle that.

South Bethlehem has continued to rise. New restaurants and festivals are opening every year, and developments are happening everywhere, constantly bringing more attractions for Lehigh students. It’s a special time in South Bethlehem, as the city is continuing in an upward direction. Take advantage of it.

Regarding on-campus life, we especially understand the success Lehigh achieves on a daily basis through our newspaper’s coverage. Students at Lehigh are surrounded by endless opportunities and have the ability to get what they want out of their experience. 

Whether you had a goal of starting your own venture, pursuing a sport, founding a club, conducting research in a field of interest — the list goes on and on. Lehigh has it all.

However, like any institution, Lehigh has its imperfections. The administration regularly faces scrutiny for decisions that have a firsthand effect on the student body. 

As Lehigh continues its expansion phase, we feel that decisions are sometimes made at the expense of the students. 

One controversial issue from the past year involves student housing. Expansion plans have an effect on student housing as renovations have taken place, prompting housing to become an undue stress for students who wish to live on-campus.Trembley Park, an on-campus housing option for upperclassmen at Lehigh, was set to be demolished as part of expansion plans. 

Students wound up staging demonstrations to oppose the administration’s actions on housing.  

Eventually, the student body united, and the Student Senate proposed a plan to the administration that ended up getting accepted, thus delaying the demolition of Trembley Park.

Another issue was the closure of Packer Avenue, despite lots of sentiment against such an action. 

The administration, like many others, is going to make decisions sometimes that may come at the expense of the current student body. While it may be frustrating, it is important to remember the importance of your voice throughout your Lehigh career.

The Lehigh student body is particularly close when we unite and voice our concern to make Lehigh a better place. That’s what makes this institution so special. 

We advise the class of 2024 to always stick together. You are entering Lehigh amidst a transitional expansion period. There will be decisions the administration will make that you will question. However, the ability the Lehigh student body has to unite as a whole is one you should value. 

We are so excited for you. Lehigh is a life-changing experience. We wish you all the best and can’t wait to meet you.

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