In 2027, SLU may be very different from what we know today. We imagine a SLU that might be hard to recognize, as both a campus and a university, just a decade into the future.
The SLU community is a fickle group, and by 2027, the community will want a new Billiken, which will necessitate changes to the current mascot. Continually striving to satisfy the SLU community, Dr. Pestello will have visited the St. Louis Zoo six more times looking for inspiration. Because people always struggle with change, the new mascot will not be perfect at first. The redesign will be described as “a combination of Shrek and White Castle.” Eventually, the University will get that perfect combination between loveable and tough.
Worn by years of stress, the fatigued SLU president’s beard, once beloved by the SLU community, will be long and unkempt. The only thing keeping him going will be the headlines about SLU’s new bowling team, which has become the newest craze on campus, winning three consecutive bowling championships.
On the 10th anniversary of the original “restructuring” of SLU staff, the University will finally reach the conclusion that embracing technology is the only path forward. In order to reduce costs and improve student-faculty interactions, SLU will fully replace all non-tenure track faculty with “automated lecturers.” Who wants to learn philosophy from a human, anyway?
Several prayer services will be held for this unfortunate day. In solidarity, however, the SLU community will remain.
In order to also cut costs, SLU will “restructure” the language department. Instead of offering traditional language courses complete with three days of class and a lab session once a week, the University will offer a groundbreaking new credit program through Rosetta Stone. Some students might prefer to learn new language with a teacher guiding them, but the new program will be much cheaper, and it will come with an app (price of $6 added as a student fee).
The future SLU will see the end of Reinert Hall, whose location far from the rest of campus likens it to a forgotten and overlooked relative. With the new members of the residence hall family—Spring Hall and Grand Hall—garnering more attention and student demand, the former-Marriott-Hotel-turned-residence-hall will be phased out of use and long forgotten by residents by 2027. Reinert will become a residence hall of Billikens past.
Other campus structures, such as McGannon Hall, which has been scorned by some professors as either too cold or too warm and just a terrible building, will see their ends. The building that is home to the departments of African American Studies, Political Science, and Women’s and Gender Studies will be replaced by a much more impressive building, one that will rival the business school.
The currently boarded-up Diablitos will be replaced with a much needed parking lot. Hopefully, parking here will be at a rate similar to the other student lots, rather than that of the parking lot that was formerly located behind Griesedieck Hall.
By 2027, all of the dorms will have some technological updates. Other universities, as well as SLU’s newest resident halls, have the nifty dorm room doors that open with the tap of an ID card. Most dorm rooms at SLU open to an old metal key. This is too old school for most students, and it is turning students away from SLU, so the new technology will increase student enrollment.
Another means of increasing student enrollment will come in the form of more artwork around campus. Twice as many statues will cover the school grounds. This change will double student retention and triple enrollment rates.
In a last ditch effort to attract juniors and seniors back to living on campus, SLU will replace the Griesedieck Dining Hall with an on-campus bar. Off-campus residents and individuals under 21 must pay a $10 cover fee. This final addition will secure the new SLU in the hearts of students for years to come.
The areas around SLU will be somewhat more developed than today, and the SLU bubble will grow a bit wider. New stores will open to accommodate the needs of the growing population of students living on and around the campus. The blue street lights, which indicate that students are on SLU property, will grow brighter around town. SLU will be a bigger campus with the same suburb-in-a-city feel.
Perhaps a SLU of this description will not come to be, but the University has changed much in the past few years, so the outcomes could be many. Upgrades will be made, new plans will be adopted and new students will still leave empty beer cans in the Gries elevator.