The Captain's Log

The Student News Site of Christopher Newport University

The Captain's Log

The Captain's Log

Outside of the CNU bubble

Making connections within the Newport News community
Newport News Park, photo from

Hypothetically, you could spend the majority of your time at CNU on campus or at least on this side of Warwick Boulevard. You have food, entertainment, and friends all within walking distance of each other. A lot of CNU students spend their whole college experience on campus, while never even considering the city that surrounds them. It is a frequent narrative that CNU is an island or a bubble within Newport News. But perhaps it would be beneficial to all of us, if we decided to step out of the bubble once in a while to explore the surrounding Newport News area. 


Before we continue, let’s address everyone’s biggest concern when going out in Newport News. It would be irresponsible to neglect the city’s crime problem. Concerns about safety within the city likely crossed everyone and their parents’ minds when applying to this university. Always keep yourself safe when out and about; however, it also would be incorrect to write off all of the city as some dystopian and crime-ridden place. There are efforts to reduce crime in the city and hopefully progress is seen soon, but it’s not fair to turn your nose up at the entire city because of the crime. Upholding this narrative further divides CNU from the Newport News community. 


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There is quite a lot to do in Newport News. You have movie theaters, restaurants of all flavors, intriguing museums, farmers markets and small local wonders to check out. There’s a comedy club very close to CNU that just hosted acclaimed comedian Ashley Guthermuth. Even when you don’t have the money to spare, there’s a lot of things you can do for free. There’s parks and bike trails that you can visit to get out of your dorm and clear your head. You can go fishing or attend festivals –there is so much to do that’s fun. 


But this isn’t just about what’s fun. There must be a bigger effort by the CNU community to reach out and work with the Newport News community to help foster a positive relationship between the two that is mutually beneficial. There are already efforts from within this university to do so. One of the most impressive being the “Writing About the Environment” class taught by Dr. Andrew Rose of the English Department. His class requires students to propose policies that would improve the city’s environment and since it is a Community Engagement course, the students propose the policy directly to the city’s Fire Chief. Rose’s class is just one of several Community Engaged Learning courses that were offered at CNU. By collaborating with a community partner within Newport News, these courses were designed to engage students directly, and in a meaningful way, with the surrounding community. 


However you chose to engage with the Newport News community, remember you are representing this school and whatever you do, big or small, affects the public’s view of this university. It’s good for you to get out of your comfort zone and explore this city, and it’s good for Newport News to see that the Captains community cares and wants to be here.

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