Point vs. Counterpoint

Point: Waterloo Should Focus on Opening More Satellite Campuses

Note: This article is hosted here for archival purposes only. It does not necessarily represent the values of the Iron Warrior or Waterloo Engineering Society in the present day.

One of the predominant reasons most students come to UW is the co-op program. Students want to explore by working in different types of jobs. Co-op allows experimentation with the size and type of companies where we are working and the types of locations where we work. Where better to go than out of the country? After all, it’s only four to eight months. Anyone can do anything for just four to eight months. Having Satellite campuses in other countries means that there is the opportunity to travel to other countries as TAs or dons employed by the university. You have the chance to experience that country in a safe manner while still seeing the familiar faces of profs from Waterloo, and the chance to see industry in that country from an academic standpoint.
Satellite campuses serve several functions. UW campuses outside of Waterloo can bring students closer to what they are studying. For Architecture students, their campus provides greater aesthetic beauty. For Stratford students, the campus brings them closer to the vibrant arts scene in Stratford which supports and supplements the digital media studies which take place there. The School of Pharmacy allows Health Sciences and pharmacy students to work closely with McMaster University’s DeGroote School of Medicine and allows pharmacy students to help care for patients. The Dubai campus developed a partnership with the UAE and permits students to begin their studies in Chemical or Civil engineering, financial analysis and risk management and information technology management. Students in Dubai are able to do the first 2 years of their degrees closer to home before finishing their degrees in Waterloo. Finally, the Waterloo Summit Centre for the Environment in Huntsville connects environment students with northern Ontario landscapes. These satellite campuses make valuable connections between students and the professional communities that they will one day join.
My opponent will tell you that we should be consolidating to the main Waterloo campus. However, that will weaken our ties with so many different professional communities. Also, having professors living in communities that inspire or interest them increases professional development and satisfaction with their work. This benefits everyone, since happy professors make for better lectures. Furthermore, having all Waterloo students studying predominantly at the main campus creates stresses on the available infrastructure. While our mental health can be increased simply by turning POETS into a giant sand box, that is not a viable full time solution. Having everyone in one place with constant construction contributes to the mental health drain which can only be remedied by more space, both for studying, summer Frisbee games and winter snowball fights.
So, what next? Either the university can decrease green space on main campus through the creation of endless new buildings, or more satellite campuses can be created. Imagine studying geology or geography in northern Canada, conducting research and field studies alongside your professors. Or, how about computer science students doing their last year in Silicon Valley, or Health Sciences students studying in Switzerland? Granted, there is greater cost involved in having these campuses for very specialized needs: maintaining buildings and transporting employees, as well as the student cost for transportation, housing etc. If professors travel between campuses, they will be in the same situation as the students they teach, travelling back and forth without a permanent address. While being uprooted fairly routinely to travel between campuses leads to some disorganization, it will also renew their outlook on life and provide a fresh look at their work. The disorganization affect on professors from having several campuses can be minimized by having rental accommodations for professors so they won’t have to worry about finding housing, buying beds, shower curtains etc.
Satellite campuses will bring incredible benefits for students and professors alike by bringing them close to the hot spot in their fields and placing them in the action. They can be located in places with good resources, cutting edge technology, or a high density of industrial operations. Satellite campuses also act as a resource for co-op students, allowing them to check in to a campus which is relatively familiar. Having a campus elsewhere is like visiting MacDonald’s in a different country: familiar enough for comfort, but different enough to excite you and give you new inspirations. Students can remain at home longer or leave home sooner depending on their comfort zones, allowing them to get closer to their full potential. And this, my friends, is the power of Satellite campuses – to inspire the generations of the future towards the inventions of tomorrow.

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