President Cheryl J. Norton begun “botoxing” the SRU campus.
“I define botoxing simply as strategically designed initiatives that don’t require a lot of money but make an immediate and significant impact,” Norton explained. “In other words it’s kind of a face-lift for the institution. It’s like cleaning up your room.”
As the amount of high school enrollment decreases, it is becoming more important to attract students to the university, Norton said. With a lower number of college ready students, there is a smaller pool of students for the university to choose from. The quality of education is dependent on the amount of intelligent students enrolled at the school. Norton believes that it is important for SRU to be visually pleasing to attract new students.
“We know that people coming to the campus in the first 10 or 15 minutes will make a decision whether they’re interested in the campus or not. Whether it feels right or not, whether it’s a place that they think they can get the quality academic program that they wish.”
Norton explained that one of the advantages that SRU has over other universities is the beautiful campus. With that being said, there are some flaws that distract from SRU’s aesthetic appeal. She stated that the welcome center’s bricks are crumbling, the benches are splintering and losing their paint, and the iron railings around campus are rusting.
“It does not suggest that we are of the 21st century,” Norton explained. “Here we have a welcome center and we can’t invite people to sit down on the bench because they might get a splinter.”
In order to improve the look of campus, Norton plans to repaint the railings, replace the old benches, and renovate the welcome center to make positive initial impression. She also plans to add new trashcans, plant flower gardens, place new signs, and have maps spread around campus.
In addition to those plans, Norton and her husband pick up trash off the streets around the campus and throughout town every morning. She states that she ends up with a plastic bag full of litter daily. By doing this, she hopes to inspire students to also be more courteous about keeping campus clean.
Norton stated that making campus clean is an ongoing project that she doesn’t think will ever be completely finished.
“I think the reason you never kind of finish botoxing is because you always have wear and tear on an institution, Norton said. “What looks good today might not look good in five years.”
With that being said, Norton is not in charge of all of the projects on campus being used to improve the look of campus. For example, there is a campus master plan that Norton does not have control over. The master plan focuses on large scale projects that require a lot of planning and money, such as constructing new buildings or parking lots.
In comparison, Norton’s projects are inexpensive and don’t take very much time to complete. The money comes from reserves through budgeting and management of funds, most of which comes from tuition and fees.
“I’m happy to take any kind of suggestions people have about botoxing, but it’s really an initiative that is coming out of my office,” explained Norton. “I hope that people feel that it is a responsible initiative because I believe that it is making our campus more inviting.”