End of the Year Surprises

This exam period, for the first time in our collective student memory, students have as much to look forward to going into finals as they already have to not look forward to: first, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis promises to keep spirits up as students get excited about not having any use for their glass coasters and Spring Formal; second, students should also appreciate the generous end-of-year break we received — an extended “reading period.”

In semesters past, reading period has never failed to underwhelm. Sometimes a break-in-name-only, its moderate platform typically encompassed little more than a weekend. Reading period has sought to boost its favorability this exam season; pandering to a student base desperate for change, it has positioned itself far to the other extreme. Students will now receive an official hand-out of five days of reading (three if we only count real days and not weekends — still generous by historical measure).

Professors this semester may have mixed feelings about the administration shoving upon them the end of semester earlier by two extra days. However, faculty need not worry, since they’ve been reassured that grades will be due just days after finals this semester, giving them ample time to make sure final papers will now be due before reading period.

Students also have much to look forward to in the upcoming year. While students will have to bear many unwanted construction sights, smells and sounds, they will get to see a return before the year is out; the College has promised students a new building in Spring which they unveiled with many completed drawings and sketches. While the administration has promised “The Power House” as a social space to satisfy student need, the administration has done little to inquire what that student need actually is.

The College seems to have made up its mind about the space; the plans students were presented with seem near finalized, and students have yet to be consulted on this supposed student space. Seeing the College’s charge to renovate the building, we fear a repeat of the Keefe Campus Center renovation disaster, which, after much talk about incorporating student input on reservation specifics, the Administration went ahead with renovations in a manner which which did not directly involve students. The result is that many good student ideas to enhance social spaces on campus were overlooked, and the time to discuss any other Keefe ideas has passed.

Typical proceedings surrounding renovations at this College teaches us that a very narrow window exists for students to get their views across to administrators or renovation committee members. If the building is to have any potential as a desirable central student space, students should demand to make the Powerhouse work best for their needs. If we fail to do so, the building could end up unused, or at worst, like many other spaces on campus, an impediment to student clubs hoping to host attractive events for the college community.