A university is not a mall – The Oakland Post

Last Friday I had to have an x-ray at Ascension Hospital in Rochester Hills. Back home, I drove west on Walton Boulevard toward the Oakland University campus. It was late in the day and traffic was heavy, especially near the corner of Walton and Adams. People were coming home from work and shoppers were coming and going from the three developed corners of the intersection: Tim Horton’s corner, The Village corner and Trader Joe’s/Busch’s corner.

Like most people, I don’t like how Rochester Hills is built – people move there because of its green spaces, its leafy avenues, its good schools. That’s why when I came down the hill and approached the intersection, I was glad to see the big forest around the corner from the OU. This forest reminds us of the history of Oakland University, which had its first incarnation as forest land owned by the Anishinaabe people. The grassy expanse, which stretches between the forest and the intersection, in turn reminds us of Matilda Wilson, who dedicated herself to exploring the best agricultural practices and dedicated the land to future generations of Michiganders.

Matilda Wilson donated her farm to the state to establish a public university. A university is not a shopping mall. It’s a place where people go to learn more about the world and themselves. They attend to prepare for a career, and in the process, they build community. As members of the Oakland University community, it’s up to us to tell the trustees, who want to plow the prairie and the woods to create another mall, that we don’t want it or don’t. we don’t need it. There is plenty of shopping in the area. Indeed, at the corner of Walton and Adams, there are empty storefronts. Why build more?

One of the great things about the meadow and the woods is the fact that they announce themselves as something different. When we drive towards them, we immediately know that we are not coming to another commercial area that could be found anywhere in the overdeveloped landscape of modern America. Instead, we find ourselves approaching an institution that respects itself as a space of possibility, a space that leaves room for the imagination of the needs of future people, as well as the needs of its current students and community members. .

One important thing that forest and grassland help us imagine is how we will deal with the current climate crisis. This crisis recently sent a tornado through the town of Gaylord. It is burning the western states of the country, with blazes of such intensity that last summer here in Michigan smoke burned citizens’ throats and turned the sun red. Clearly, the campus community needs to join President Ora Hirsch Pescovitz in her Grizzlies Healthy Planet Initiative (GHPI), which “encourages the OU to adopt policies that support a healthier and more sustainable university.”

Oakland University invited comments and questions about the proposed campus development is here. But let’s join our voices together and say publicly, here in the OU student newspaper, how we feel about putting yet another mall on the corner of Walton and Adams.

Edwin S. Wolfe