Clare: Inside and out

By Tim Metzler
Lumen Columnist

Clare—This fall, as Viterbo Students arrive for the first time or return to campus for their last year, this fall they are all undoubtedly surprised by the presence of the new Clare Apartments.  Not simply by the fact that the construction is finally done, but also by how extravagant the building is.
Clare stands four stories tall, houses 118 students and acts as a refuge for those students who have shown through tests of character and scholastic effort that they are deserving of an on-campus housing unit that is so far beyond the competition, they are willing to pay extra money to live there; some rooms costing as much as $500 extra per semester.
Whether one considers the aesthetic side of Clare, its specifically designed interior to promote healthy academic achievement, or simply the fact that only the best and brightest students are accepted into Clare, the beauty of the building depends on the perspective of the onlooker.  Inside looking out breeds better students, but outside looking in broods questions.
Unfortunately, these questions are not all entirely irrational.
If one looks past the simple issues temporarily surrounding Clare that same person may also easily rationalize the issue.  But, there are a couple of things that are bugging even me, and they go back to how the process of getting into Clare began.
Clare is supposed to be an academic environment built to promote further success from those students who’ve proved they earned their spot in the building. The dilemma arises when another purpose statement is brought into the picture: Clare was built to attract off-campus students to live on campus. Out of the 118 residents of Clare, 30 are sophomores.  One must ask the question that if preference to the building is given to upper classman and also to students who want to move back on campus and not to students who just completed their freshman year, then why are there any sophomores in the building at all?
The answer I came to is that this flaw is simply a result of this being the first year the building is available for students to live in.  An approximate 200 students applied to get into Clare.  All things considered, that’s a fairly low number.  Only time will reveal the true nature of the Clare application process, and hopefully, the kinks are worked out over time. There are at least 118 students who are ready to work past those kinks.
“I have a sense of ownership, in regards to Clare,” said Alyssa Gray, a senior elementary education major from McFarland, Wis.  “I just hope that people understand this is not a place for every on-campus activity to happen; this is an off-campus living environment, and it should be treated that way.” Gray has lived off-campus but chose to return for the opportunity to live in Clare. Her primary reason for returning is to regain a sense of security in her residential life, Gray said.
“I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to live in such an incredible place,” Gray said.
“My favorite aspect of the new apartments is the study room on every floor,” said Shannon Knull, a senior elementary education major from Reedsburg, Wis.  “This building is unlike any building amongst the three colleges and universities in La Crosse.”
Shannon Knull, who was a Resident Assistant last year, chose to live in Clare to have the opportunity to make a difference for the following generations of students living in Clare.
“We have fewer rules in Clare.  No visitation policy, no Resident Assistants walking through the halls, nobody acting as our parent,” Knull said.  “This is up to us to make Clare everything we want and need it to be.  We already have a strong community feel,” Knull said.  “While I’m excited about this group of students, I’m very concerned about each individual.  It’s only going to take a couple of foolish people to ruin this experience for all of us.”

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