Bring the Panthers Back to Campus
There’s often talk regarding whether UWM is a commuter campus or not, and although it still has numerous commuter students, UWM has been evolving into a full blown campus environment for years. This change has stirred up East Side residents and put a greater demand on the neighborhood, but Milwaukee’s future is closely tied to UWM’s future so this evolution needs to be embraced, not challenged.
Part of this evolution is actually a strong athletic program. Regardless if the emphasis on athletics at institutions of higher learn is good or not, it’s true. The public face of a university is its athletic program. When people think Ohio State they think football. When people think North Carolina they think basketball. Although UWM won’t realistically ever reach those lofty levels, athletics play a role, so much so that some schools have increased enrollment after NCAA Tourney appearances. Simply, a successful athletic program could lead to more national recognition, increased alumni giving, increased exposure potential students, and in the long run help raise enrollment.
Certainly, there are potential issues, such as the availability of land, how to fund the construction, the real or perceived issue of the lack of parking, and the U.S. Cellular Arena becoming even less utilzed. But a growing UWM is good for all of Milwaukee and building a new on campus arena would be one, small step that UWM could take to continue growing.