Everyday is a good day to be a Shocker, but August 14, 2014 was a particularly special day to be a part of the Shocker family. As another school year begins, this year started off with a bang. There are many exciting changes happening at Wichita State. Two years ago on July 1, 2012 we invited a new president who saw potential in Wichita State and imagined a bright future. President Bardo has a vision for targeted change and growth for our university. Bardo initiated a university strategic plan, which includes a fund to provide grants for students to engage in faculty-mentored research and a new resident’s hall to boost on campus offerings.

            The resident’s hall, appropriately named Shocker Hall, became open to the public on August 14, 2014 after a short ceremony and ribbon cutting. The facilities offer state of the art technology with five Wi-fi connections per person, a brand new dining hall and coffee shop, a kitchen and laundry facility per floor, billards and games in the main lounge, and a home for about 800 students with five different room styles to choose from. Shocker Hall is located directly in the heart of campus and is a five-minute walk away from all on campus amenities. The new resident halls offer a more traditional college experience to the students living there. This is a large pull for many potential Wichita State students. Combining the traditional college living experience with the emphasis on community and a “small campus” feel that Wichita State offers, the opening of Shocker Hall is the beginning of a new focus and direction for the university.

            In his address, Bardo said, “We are celebrating a change in the life of the university associated with increasing the quality of student experience… Today, we are changing their experience to offer them the opportunity to get to know each other, work together, and to collaborate- to enjoy each other and be a part of a major, emerging national research university.”  The new residents halls are going to draw the attention of many new students and the innovation of the new facilities will encourage growth in other aspects of the university as well.

           As a senior at Wichita State and through involvement in several student organizations I had the opportunity to participate in the grand opening on Thursday. It was an incredible day to be a student. As I listened to several speakers address the anticipated opening of Shocker Hall, my heart was swollen with pride. Not only do we have the support of Wichita State faculty and staff, but also the Wichita community is supporting the development of the university. As a member of Barton International Group, I see potential growth as an organization. We work very closely with many members of Wichita community outside of the university, so the progress and advancement of Wichita State does the same for any organization. That is what being a Shocker is all about and I could not be more thrilled to be a part of it.