Campus life in 2024

(Matt Oxman/Ryersonian staff)

(Matt Oxman/ Ryersonian staff)

Last week, I was looking through past editions of The Ryersonian, getting lost in the archives while reading about Ryerson’s history, as told through news stories.

I came across an article headlined “Ryerson 2014,” which appeared in the Oct. 20, 2004 issue of the paper.

The writer speculated what Ryerson would be like 10 years from then, mixing “some educated guesses with a bit of optimism.”

It’s been 10 years since the story was published, and I think the guesswork deserves a response.

In figuring out post-graduate plans, I realize that I haven’t looked much further into the future than the end of the semester. However, I’m still going to place my bids on the state of Ryerson in 2024.

In the editorial, this hopeful Ryersonian staff member wrote, “By 2014 students’ race and religion are no more important than their haircuts to the vast majority of people.”

Our campus has come a long way in the past 10 years, but we’re still getting there. Ryerson’s equity services have stepped up their game, and bigotry is out of style with no chance of making a comeback. Gender and sexuality issues are still hot topics for students, but by 2024, I predict that full equality will be within reach and Ryersonian editors will be less likely to run articles about the topic in every issue.

On that note, campus washrooms will have been restructured to feature single-user and accessible facilities. But they’ll still be disgusting.

By 2024, Ryerson’s food services will source their ingredients locally and sustainably and students will be shocked to hear that plastic water bottles were ever sold on campus. Tim Hortons will still be around though, and students will still be rolling up their rims in 2024.

Security Watch alerts will see an all-time low after a Ryerson professor invents a crime-fighting robot, leaving students safe and inboxes empty. The school will find a suitable field and Ryerson will bring back its football team. The therapy dogs program will also maintain its popularity, so much so that students will be able to get a minor in it and Ryerson will be awarded “Cuddliest Campus in Canada.”

Sometime within the next 10 years, Ryerson will also see the completion of the Student Learning Centre and the newly announced Health Sciences Building on Church Street. This will mean that the editorial writer was perhaps too optimistic in predicting that, “The whole ‘campus as a construction site’ phase is over” in 2014.

Yet the past decade has seen many developments in campus facilities, the most recent and eye-catching is the Image Arts Centre. I doubt they could have predicted that Ryerson’s dark days would come to an end with the construction of this innovative and ever-shining building.

Colour on campus will be saved for the buildings by 2024. The paint on Gould Street will have chipped away and future students won’t be sure whether to believe if the street had actually been painted blue and gold before frosh week in 2013.

And speaking of Gould Street, it will be closed — permanently. Ryerson will be able to house a significantly greater number of students by 2024 and, because of that, there will be a greater demand for the street’s closure. The university plans to add 2,000 residence spaces by 2020, so I’m sure this prediction will become a reality by 2024.

The increased on-campus population will establish Ryerson’s presence in Toronto and bring a vibrant and youthful energy to the heart of the city. And while the university may not have the same opportunities as others to spread throughout, the continued plans to expand vertically mean that Ryerson’s campus and reputation have nowhere to go but up.

This story was first published in The Ryersonian, a weekly newspaper produced by the Ryerson School of Journalism, on April 2, 2014.

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