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CSU Overlooked by the 'Burbs, But They've Got 'Bots!

By Scott Smith in News on Oct 2, 2006 9:12PM

Before Chicagoist moved to the city, we used to take Metra from the middle of nowhere to the Loop. While the ride was generally less than inspiring, our interest was often piqued by the seemingly out of place campus of Chicago State University. Whenever college application season rolled around, our friends applied to a gamut of public and private universities. But never Chicago State University.

According to an article in the Sun-Times, even kids in Oak Lawn 2006_10_robotlibrary.jpgwere as clueless as us, not even realizing the university was nearby. Many area students overlook CSU, despite its location, low tuition costs, small class sizes, Division I sports, safe campus and respectable academic programs.

State Sen. Edward Maloney attributes some of the lack of interest to the school's racial makeup. While Oak Lawn's student body is 84 percent white, CSU's enrollment is 86 percent black. Adding to the problem is the rather curious fact that university officials noted that they do not recruit heavily in the surrounding suburbs, and suburban high school counselors do not promote the university. We've done a bit of marketing in the past, and call us crazy, but maybe you'd want to advertise your goods to the people who, you know, might actually be interested in using them.

Last week, a group of 40 high school counselors from the suburbs made a step in that direction, meeting with university officials at CSU. Most were very impressed with the university offerings, including the new, uber-cool "robotic library." At a cost of $1.7 million, the robot named "Rover" will retrieve requested books from metal storage bins and send them to staff members. Those days of hunting through dusty stacks with only to find the book was accidentally put in "Asian Studies" instead of "Philosophy" are long gone. Take that, Dewey Decimal!

Chicagoist thinks this school holds a lot of promise for students in the 'burbs, especially for those of whom have limited financial means. With tuition rising dramatically at schools across the state and nation, $6,000 a year seems positively cheap in comparison.

Image via cyprien

Thanks, Olivia!