Guest Voices: Divide between Chatham’s Eden Hall and Shadyside campuses causes strife

Guest Voices is an occasional series that invites students to share their views about a topic of importance and interest to them on campus.


Photo Credit: Chatham University

Searrah Bierker

There is a clear disconnect between Chatham University’s Eden Hall and Shadyside campuses that goes beyond the physical distance between them. Students are not always aware of opportunities to visit either of Chatham’s properties, which can lead to a poor relationship between the two locations.

While both are part of one university, many students outside of the environmental science, sustainability and food studies programs have not stepped foot on Eden Hall’s beautiful campus because of the very few other classes and activities there. This is not from lack of trying; it can be difficult to coordinate shuttles going from the Shadyside campus to Eden Hall, and it is especially hard when students must go out of their way to attend these events and visit the campus. 

It is exciting to see that some of these changes are beginning to happen with the Bonfire and the Spring Formal events happening at Eden Hall with shuttle transportation. Hopefully, this trend can continue into the future and students can continue to look forward to engaging with the students and grounds of Eden Hall.

Likewise, it can be difficult for students from each community to work with each other based on the lack of continuity between them. The Eden Hall Student Advisory Council was started because students felt that Eden Hall was being left out of important decisions being made for the entire Chatham community during meetings and decided to make their own student government as a result. 

During these meetings, many issues were raised that highlighted the disconnect between campuses. A few mentioned included a complete lack of health services, counseling and career service offices on Eden Hall’s campus, all of which are offered at Shadyside. It is understandable that providing these services would require hiring more staff, but it would be beneficial for the students living on that campus to have access to these resources to make all Chatham students’ experiences equitable. 

Because of the 40 minute trip to Eden Hall, it can be a challenge to stay connected with others on the Shadyside campus if they are not able to partake in events and other happenings that occur on Shadyside campus at times when the shuttles cannot run. 

As an environmental science major, I hoped to live on Eden Hall’s campus during my time at Chatham, but that would not be feasible for me since many others I know are staying on the Shadyside Campus, and many other opportunities around this campus on the weekends would not be available to me. Ideally, Chatham could create a shuttle that ran during the weekends so students could register for rides at certain times, not just during the school week. 

There is a lot of potential for these two campuses to come together and bridge this disconnect between them, through both social and pragmatic means. With more student activities on Eden Hall’s campus, more resources for students living there and shuttles that run on the weekends, students from both campuses can be brought together in a meaningful way.