The University of Memphis recently announced several large investments for campus improvement. Some of the investments have been used to bolster safety, one of the city’s biggest issues, as well as research parks for the improvement of student resources.
David Kemme, the Chair of Excellence for the department of economics at the UofM, said recent projects put toward the school are worth the investment.
“Making sure high-school students that are interested in this school feel good about coming is important because it makes the campus more attractive,” Kemme said. “The aesthetics here are improving, and overall I am happy. Anything that improves life off the classroom experience is very important and should be invested toward.”
Kemme said although he doesn’t teach at night, the lighting throughout certain areas of the school has been uneven and in definite need of improvement. Some of the investments made toward visibility improvement include the Walker Avenue Parking Lot LED lighting, approximately $5,000, and the installment of the SkyCop Camera Network, approximately $90,000.
The UofM brought in $18.3 million in private investments from local, national and international companies since the Office of Development and Government Relations was founded in 2018.
Chris Butler, a sophomore at the UofM, said safety investments are crucial to the long-term future of the university due to the reputation that the city of Memphis usually draws.
“I am not from here originally so I can say that the overall perception of this city isn’t as positive as the natives would like,” Butler said. “Putting money toward further security measures is a smart move long-term if they want to attract students that are deciding between here and small-town colleges that aren’t located in a large city.”
The second notable investment the university recently made went toward the UMRF Research Park. The research park is for students to work with and export technology in and out of the facility. The park enables UofM students to collaborate with other students throughout the Mid-South to bring in other technology and research.
Christian Reyna, an engineering major, said that a research hub for students with his major is a great way for the engineering department to grow and a potential motivation for researchers and engineers to develop technology for the community.
“Technology is the most important commodity we have in today’s society,” Reyna said. “Our entire generation is shaped because of the tech we have today. To see that this school isn’t just focused on a new athletic facility or a parking garage is kind of refreshing because they are also putting their money on education, student development and opportunities, the focus of what a university should have.”
Although it is a great start, Reyna said that he would like to see potential investment in other department developments, it should not be limited to robotics and technology.
“We are heading in the right direction, and we should follow it by putting our money where it’s needed and not where it’s unnecessary,” Reyna said.