Nothing has swept the Case Western Reserve University campus in such a storm (apart from 1,500 riot police walking to Chipotle) as Pokémon Go.
And that was just during the summer session. It’s like the entire student population was actually inspired by the Carpe Summer mascot to go out and catch Magikarp. Somehow, a community of students who spend their time working on circuits labs, SOLIDWORKS and League of Legends are now wandering about the open world like socially adept human beings. Clearly, Pokémon is for outsiders.
Literally. People are going outside again. Given, CWRU students are pretty active; I ran into a group slack-lining over by Wade Lagoon, and by Jove, have you seen HvZ? (Well, not this spring.) Point is, CWRU people get out, they do things together and they can get creative. But now the campus itself has become an activity.
It’s not limited to campus, either. Students at home or on co-op over the summer have run into everyone from children to engineers making time and excuses to get out of the four-walls-ceiling-and-floor to explore the wonder of the world around us. A fountain on the corner of the business park is now a destination. The Ugly Statue is actually useful. The Cleveland Metroparks are a treasure trove of adventure. People are going outside with a new fervor, a drive to discover, an ambition to find and evolve and strategize.
I mentioned before the degenerate, dank dorm-dwellers? Gross, that’s the kind of language used to belittle the other outsiders of society. Yet somehow, even the people called nerds and weirdos are now included in Going Places with others. It seems the trending app is more than a fad; it’s a gateway to positive social interaction and physical well-being. People with mental illnesses or who are bound to the hospital have something to strengthen their confidence and independence. Video game players and lazy bones are out stretching their crusty limbs and getting a break from CWRU’s incessant workloads. Vampires are trying out new brands of high-strength sunscreen. The outsider is becoming a whole different kind of outsider.
Perhaps people are not just searching for digital 90s nostalgia. Perhaps we as a community are beginning to notice the places around us, the outsiders among us, the joy of childhood that has been so delicately locked away by the pressure to “grow up,” looming student loans, politics and frivolous media. There is a chance to pay attention to details and individual needs of the community and students, the way the CWRU administration didn’t when they made that deal with the City of Cleveland for the RNC. There is so much potential. Potential to get hurt, as walking alone at night or playing while driving have caused, and also potential to troll people running around after a Charizard, sure, but also potential to realize that we are all outsiders. Doing things together is safer and more fulfilling. Pokémon is for everyone.