Being a Niner

Let me preface this by saying that I support nearly any effort of people trying to do what they think is best for our school.

I do have a few questions concerning the direction(s) that seem to be the goal of many supporters and at times the University itself. What is this university? And where is it’s logical path to success?

I do not believe that UNC Charlotte’s path to success is trying to beat more established schools at their own game. Our school has the incredible opportunity to be different, serve a unique and meaningful purpose and redefine what a state university can be.

By this I mean we are young, we are in a growing area that will continue ensure our growth no matter what course we take, we are not bound by the legacies, traditions and norms of yesteryear. Yet I see us trying to create traditional buildings, traditional social hubs, a traditional athletic department and scratch my head. We cannot catch up to ACC and SEC schools by playing their game and copying their style; they made those rules, they’ll win that game.

What UNC Charlotte can do is set its own rules. We can be a model that traditional schools have to adapt to because our way and our town are taking students who are attracted to our competitive advantages. We should embrace and grow what we do well: attract students in professional fields (architecture, engineering, business, etc) who want to be a part of growing a university that is redefining the college experience.

We are urban, we are suburban, we are not traditional college town. We are young, we are growing, we are not old, set in our ways. We provide the resources of our state’s largest metro area, we do not ship people off a mountain or out of liberal, traditional college town to get real world experience; we ARE real world experience. We do provide aspects of the traditional college experience, but we also embrace non-traditional students realizing that the make-up of the “typical” college student is ever-changing; different backgrounds add to our culture. Most of our students work part or even full time, they are not handed their spot in college or in the world, at UNC Charlotte, we earn what we enjoy and vice versa.

These things are assets as soon as we say they are. As soon as we decided that we have the opportunity to embrace a niche with great potential, as soon as we market ourselves as the alternative to tired, aged ways. This does not mean turning in to a sprawling (sub)urban - largely vocational - school (ie: South Florida, Buffalo, Temple), those schools are still trying to be FSU, Syracuse, and Penn State, that’s what got them there. What we can be is a place that truly does encourage individual outlooks and opportunities. A UNC Charlotte Student can do internship with the Carolina Panthers/CMC/BOA, work at an infinite number of convenient part-time jobs the next, go to Niner basketball games, Bobcats basketball games, great bars, frat parties and clubs as well as the cultural events of a major metro area.

We need to be a haven for students who want something that Chapel Hill and Raleigh cannot provide, yet we seem to be intent on catching them playing their rules. We are a place where students can shape our school and traditions, not just blindly abide by them.

We can not differentiate ourselves while people cannot identify us. We need to be the University of Charlotte, that is critical for defining the university as an independent force offering unique and valuable resources. We cannot add football without a plan that gets us in a conference that will give us the opportunity to be a viable success, and without a plan that integrates the program into the fabric of our strengths. Adding football to get us one step close to Clemson or State will fail. If it is a part of a larger plan to (re)define who we are, it has a chance.

I am excited about the future of UNC Charlotte, but I worry that that future will be spent chasing something we are not rather than cultivating what we are and can be.
Go Niners!

Good points. I like the concept of offering opportunites other schools do not offer.

The “non-traditional” school that you speak of is what attracted me to Charlotte many centuries ago, back in the 70’s. Those new and modern air conditioned high rise dorms (especially the co-ed ones) looked very inviting at the time. Ironically, those same dorms are now considered an eyesore by some.

the new buildings are freakin amazing, they arent “traditional” they are “timeless” I guess our entrance sign is “non-traditional” it is also “garbage”

One thing that Charlotte can offer that Chapel Hill and State can’t is a freshman parking spot.

I like the direction is taking, i dont think its a direction you are wanting, sorry this is college. We arent up against the SEC and ACC we are up against a ton of colleges across the nation. but what I was saying, I like the direction we are heading, i just dont like the speed of it.

I thought that was a wonderfully worded speech, Champ. You are clearly a very good writer and I have no doubt that you want what is best for the school.

How would you define the logical path of success? You mention being “unique”, “different”, “meaningful”, “not bound by legacys, traditions. and norms”, etc. , but I would prefer to hear ideas on how the university can be better. What would your next step be?

I have to disagree with you - I believe the journey towards greatness may start with football. I think that will be a step towards a greater feeling of pride in the school then what exists at the moment. I feel like if we can make it happen, there will be momentum towards more projects. The school looked into creating a Med School in the 1960s and decided it did not need one. The school looked into creating a Law School and decided that it should go to Campbell University, instead. I’m tired of this. I’m afraid that the school wants to settle at just being a good commuter school with light rail instead of trying to be a well-established, great university for a growing metropolitan area in the US. Maybe we can help change that.

you should never design a campus based on current styles. If you want to see why, look at the buildings around the belk tower. Fads go out of style, but traditional doesn’t.

I have to disagree with you - I believe the journey towards greatness may start with football. I think that will be a step towards a greater feeling of pride in the school then what exists at the moment. I feel like if we can make it happen, there will be momentum towards more projects. The school looked into creating a Med School in the 1960s and decided it did not need one. The school looked into creating a Law School and decided that it should go to Campbell University, instead. I'm tired of this. I'm afraid that the school wants to settle at just being a good commuter school with light rail instead of trying to be a well-established, great university for a growing metropolitan area in the US. Maybe we can help change that.

:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :49ers: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

Reading what we have given up breaks my heart, that we continue to settle on issues such as football, name change, just plain pisses me off. I know a lot of threads turn to football but it is the next step, we missed out on a Law school, AGAIN apparently, and we aren’t going to do a med program, so what is there? Right now we are going forward, but because we continue to settle our level hasnt changed.

I also like the direction we are going. This school is setting a style by bricking up the entire campus and I love that. The new buildings are freaking awesome. Even our intramural fields are great in respect to “other” schools.

There are plenty of ways UNCC can and has already set us apart from other schools. Academics is just a flavor. The fact that our campus is in a confined location in comparison to some “other” schools where the community is mixed into the campus. That is a way we differ. Mentioned before, we allow freshmen to drive while most schools do not.

Back to the reason I wanted to post: We are moving forward. There is an extremely tiny percentage of schools in this country with as much potential as this school, and its obvious that we will one day reach that potential because like someone said we are a part of the city of Charlotte. No one can take that away and as long as the city thrives so will we and vice versa to that.