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EDITORIAL

Return of students is a welcome sight

September 24, 2013

There's an increase in activity in and around Monmouth this week. Traffic zipping up and down streets, pedestrians strolling along sidewalks, Main Street businesses seeing an uptick in patrons ... a sense of hustle and bustle, if you will.

That can mean only one thing: The Wolves are back in town. And what a welcome sight it is to see the Western Oregon University campus and Monmouth community once again buzzing with excitement.

New Student Week is well under way at Western and Monday marks the first day of classes for fall term. The start of classes also marks the return of students -- more than 6,000 of them are expected -- to Polk County and the WOU campus.

Western, its students, its staff and all of the elements associated with the university are important parts of the Polk County community. The return of students in particular brings with it a boost -- much-needed, might we add -- to the local economy, most notably in the Monmouth and Independence areas, but, to a lesser extent, in Dallas and other areas as well. We're sure a number of businesses in both towns are welcoming the students back with open arms, as their arrival means an influx in local spending during these still trying economic times many businesses and families continue to endure.

Western Oregon University contributes much more than jobs and dollars to the local economy. The university has a reputation for volunteerism among its students and staff that may be second to none in the Oregon University System, and those volunteers touch people in Polk County and all across the globe. The school also provides local residents with an assortment of cultural and athletic opportunities that otherwise would not be available without its presence here. From concerts and drama productions to NCAA Division II sporting events, the public has numerous opportunities to be entertained without leaving the local area.

Sure, with students and a university come problems. Not everyone wants to deal with young adults and their loud music, fast cars and, on occasion, partying ways. The return of students means busier, more congested streets. Parking -- sometimes a lack of it -- becomes an issue at times. There are beverage cups left behind. And there's always a few issues with students who have had too much alcohol to drink and minors in possession. But those issues come with nearly every college town and are a small price to pay for the many benefits a university like Western brings to our area.

Fall has arrived, and with it the students, their energy, their hopes and dreams, and their contributions to our community are here.

Welcome back to campus and Polk County, Wolves. Here's to a great year.

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