Graydon Paul / Villanovan Photography
A lot has changed around Villanova’s campus since students returned in August. Campus buildings have been updated and apartments have been renovated, creating a fresh buzz in the air with students returning to a more modern campus. But one update has come as a surprise to many: the new renovations at Campus Corner Pizza, better known by the Villanova community as CampCo.
For me, this change was a welcome surprise. I was extremely eager to see the new spot, which I heard looked much nicer inside. As a junior, I had gotten used to the old-timey look of CampCo, but I was ready to see what changes were made.
When my friends and I needed dinner during the first few weeks of school, I suggested we check out the new CampCo. We decided to take the trek over there, and when I walked in, I was hit with a fresh new look that almost knocked me off my feet.
A new hardwood floor, elegant lighting, new seating, fresh signage and a sleek look hit me all at once. The place that I had known for two years had changed. At first, it was a lot to take in. However, as I sat and ate my chicken finger Caesar hoagie with my roommates that night, I realized this was just what CampCo, and I, needed: a fresh new start to a year when the pandemic and stress of previous years was finally a thing of the past.
Of course, I was happy with this change to CampCo, but I wanted to ask around and see what my peers thought of the updates. This week, I sent out a poll on my Instagram asking everyone to share their thoughts on the new CampCo renovations and got dozens of responses. What I saw surprised (and somewhat disappointed) me.
“It’s not it,” one student said.
“The old-timey feel was much better,” another said. “I prefer the old one. It was more comfy and homey-feeling. Now it’s modern and uptight.”
As I read through the responses, it was hard to find a lot of positive feedback. Over and over, I kept seeing similar responses: “Old Campco was the best. This was unnecessary.”
“Literally hate it with my whole soul. Lost its ‘look.’”
“The old vibes were so much better.”
“It takes away from the classic vibe where you can tell people have been coming there for decades.”
While a lot of the criticism centered around the vibe or look of the new CampCo, some comments also addressed the fact that there was less seating room and that they “miss the old booths.”
These responses were disheartening to read. For a pizza place that means so much to me and so many Villanovans, overwhelming criticism for a change intended to make CampCo better was not on my 2022 Villanova bingo card.
As a community, we should learn to embrace this change with open arms and appreciation. That first night that I went back to CampCo after the renovations, I spoke with the owner’s son, who seemed thrilled with the updates. He said at first, it took some getting used to for him. But now, he loves it and cannot wait to see how it continues to grow, especially with the addition of a new bar that might soon sell six-packs and assorted drinks. Hearing excitement from owners and employees only made me love the changes even more.
I resonated with one student response in particular, which said that “It can be clean and sleek but it should maintain its vibrancy.” We need more thoughts like these.
Yes, CampCo used to look like a run-of-the-mill, classic pizzeria. Now it looks different, but different is not always bad. We can acknowledge that there are aspects of the old CampCo that we might miss. But more than 50 years after it opened, it has been renovated, and it looks good.
I believe that the new CampCo will continue to maintain its vibrancy. I encourage students to give this upgraded yet classic Villanova spot a chance. Change is not always easy, but trust me, in a few years’ time, we will be looking back on this moment as a pivotal and positive point in CampCo’s history.