HUNTER SAVERY ’20
In the recent days and weeks, Bantams from Summit to High Rise have found their emails inundated with updates regarding the status of Trinity’s phone systems. It seems to be an almost daily occurrence that the phone systems go down and many find themselves asking what it has to do with them. After all, what student has a landline in 2017? Unfortunately, a phone system outage does not mean simply that certain office phones are out of service. Often, when the phone systems go down, the blue light system goes down as well. That means that the safety of Trinity students is potentially in jeopardy. The faulty phone system is unfortunately a sign of a larger technology issue on campus. Trinity needs to significantly improve its technological infrastructure.
Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in 1876, but as of late 2017, Trinity College, one of America’s foremost liberal arts institutions, has yet to develop a reliable landline system. It is certainly not a good sign that the phones are less reliable than TrinAir, the notoriously spotty wifi system that Camp Trin holds so dear. With the wifi there is at least the alternative of using Eduroam, but there is only one phone system. If a student presses the button on one of the blue light system poles and the phone systems are down, they may not receive the help they need. The phone system outages do not simply risk the financial aid or community service offices missing some calls (though that is a problem as well) but student safety is being put at risk. While a phone system may be more complicated than it seems, it should be recalled that for most of the 20th century, phones were highly utilized without issue. Trinity has been around since 1823. That is plenty of time to figure out a phone system. The telephone has been around longer than cars, scannable IDs, and emails. The difference is that the College seems to be able to handle these other issues.
There are other less serious, but equally irritating, technological issues at Trinity. One that has been particularly annoying as of late is the Bistro’s renunciation of Tapingo. Whether this is by deliberate choice or technological difficulty, it is a significant inconvenience for students, particularly residents of Vernon Street. Yes, students can still order in person, but what are they, neanderthals? It is 2017 and that means that every student should be able to order a sandwich from the comfort of their room at any given moment. Create Exhibition remains on Tapingo, but one can only spend multiple meal swipes on a dry chicken breast so many times before dying a flavorless death. The only people that stand to benefit from no Tapingo at the Bistro are Goldberg’s and Uber Eats drivers. Then, of course, there is the perennial issue of TrinAir. It must be conceded that service has improved since last year, but it is still far from perfect. With as many people on the wifi as there are at a college campus these days, there ought to be a fantastic wifi network, but hey, it is still more reliable than the phones.
Running a college is no small undertaking. Like a complex machine, there are many moving parts. And while a school may be greater than the sum of its parts, those parts still ought to be as good as they can be. That is why Trinity needs to invest in fixing its phone system. Not only so that the offices can run smoothly, but so that students can be safe on campus. Improvements need to be made to the wifi as well, but if there is any technological issue that students would like to see resolved most, it is probably Tapingo at the Bistro. To whomever is in charge of this, Chartwells, the college administration, President Trump, please have some humanity, let us all order a caprese sandwich while walking back from class or lying in bed.