Opinion

Students Need to Explore Rogers Park

Katie Anthony | The Phoenix

Part of going to school in Rogers Park is actually being in the city of Chicago. When all necessities are just a two minute walk away, there isn’t much incentive to get out of bed — but I guarantee you that it’s worth it.

Making a home requires effort, and for Loyola students that should mean being an active member of the community. With over 11,000 undergraduate students enrolled, Loyola generates a large amount of traffic through the surrounding area which feeds money to local businesses.

Rogers Park is a neighborhood which students — as residents — need to take advantage of. Getting coffee, renting musical equipment, trying new food or just finding a new place along the lake to put your feet up and enjoy a brisk afternoon are all things you can find no more than a few blocks away from the Lake Shore campus.

Too many Loyola students only travel from their room to class or the dining halls. Maybe it just isn’t in their budgets to go out and spend money unnecessarily but that doesn’t mean they can’t explore Rogers Park. Finding new spaces is a key way to explore, and a change in scenery is always healthy.

One way to switch it up would be to stop going to chain restaurants. Loyola is located in a very diverse community with a wide range in foods. With more chain restaurants moving into the area — Five Guys and Raising Cane’s to name a couple — smaller businesses can’t compete. For example, Felice’s Kitchen was an amazing student-run pizza spot which had to close earlier this year due to slower business attributed to competing chain restaurants which opened down the street on Sheridan, The Phoenix reported. 

The variety of local coffee shops in Rogers Park alone is enough to get students to go out and try a new one each week. XO Marshmallow serves concoctions of s’mores-flavored lattes and Metropolis is an indie coffee shop on Granville Avenue with a European feel. Weekly excursions like this not only help with becoming familiar with the neighborhood, but they also benefit local businesses. For those who like hole-in-the-wall places, Rogers Park is full of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Just walk down Sheridan Road and take your pick of one of the many shops lining the sidewalks. Flatts and Sharpe Music Co. as well as Nibbles and Nosh are just a couple of the many small businesses on Sheridan Road.

No one has enough friends and the only way to make friends is to talk to people. This may be intimidating for people who would rather sink themselves into their phone. Being away from the hustle and bustle of Downtown allows people to make easier connections. Become a regular at the local bookshop, talk to the owner once in a while and put your phone in your pocket. Talk books with fellow readers at Armadillo’s Pillow — on Sheridan Road — it’s a cozy bookshop with a friendly staff which might appeal to students trying to get away from Cudahy Library.

Always remember to be safe. Rogers Park is a gorgeous neighborhood which deserves to be explored, so get a friend to come out with you. There is a history of students being assaulted and robbed near campus as well as series of strong armed robberies which occurred in Rogers Park this summer which The Phoenix reported on. Be aware of your surroundings and try to walk on well-lit streets or utilize campus transportation or rideshare options. 

People from all over the world come to attend universities here in Chicago. The opportunity and diversity which the city provides set Loyola apart from a state-funded school in the middle of Small Town USA. The problem is we have to jump on these opportunities because staying in our rooms or even just going to a fast food chain on at the outskirts of campus isn’t cutting it.

This is my call to action for Loyola students to explore and not just experience the community but to become a part of it. Support local business, befriend strangers, find opportunities, make Rogers Park your home.

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