Friday, February 23, 2018

Trinity community should strive to make campus more accessible




Trinity is becoming more and more inaccessible on campus, in many different respects. On the literal level, it’s simply becoming too difficult to maneuver around campus, owing to all the construction. There are construction sites in three different locations on campus. This makes things problematic and also unsightly. Student parking is always limited. But more recently, facilities essential to academic learning are either less available, or inadequate for students.

In simpler terms, student needs are not being met. While parking and construction are temporary issues we can all manage, there are certain actions in place that aren’t conducive to learning. For instance, the library hours are not practical. I’m not arguing for later hours, because for many that is not an issue. I’m arguing that the library resources need to be available earlier than 8:30 in the morning. Two years ago, Peter B’s would not open for coffee or pastries before 8:30 a.m. and it made no sense for students who had class at that time. Peter B’s has since adjusted, knowing that students have very early classes and people can’t survive without coffee. The coffee shop has managed to notice student needs, and respond accordingly, but the actual library services have not responded. Students need to come in and get work done occasionally before their morning classes, and when the front desk doesn’t open until 8:30 a.m. there is no possibility for using materials and doing work before classes.

I am by no means an early bird, but having a ridiculously early class necessitates the need for more resources. I can’t look at a book that is on last-minute reserve right before class. Even reserve materials are problematic. There are textbooks open for the class to use, but just one generally. When a class of 50 students needs to all look at the same book for a test or exam, it becomes a race to get the book. There should be more copies on reserve, so that it isn’t a battle for the books.

The Writing Center is another inaccessible building on campus. The hours of operation are extremely difficult to make, as they are generally during class times. This leaves writing associates under utilized, and often complaining about having nothing to do. Even the website is hard to navigate, a characteristic of many Trinity websites.

Other buildings on campus need to be accessible as well. The library is always open to everyone, but it’s not enough. Despite what tour guides say, there isn’t enough room for students to all be in the library at the same time, let alone faculty as well.

Especially during midterms and finals, places like Seabury and MECC need to be open for students to study in. Having to call Campus Safety and come up with some excuse to be let in to the building makes students feel like we are not in fact young adults, but reckless children who need to be monitored in their playpens. Even in the mornings, students don’t have easy access to buildings. If you need to get into the English building at 8 o’clock in the morning, well then tough luck. It’s a game of chance in figuring out when the building is open. I’m not trying to critique the English building, because it’s a beloved home to me, but it’s just one example of inaccessibility on campus. With all the construction on campus, some of the handicap accessible entrances have been removed. While there is a real need for repairs between Austin Arts and McCook, there is also a need for students to get to class. It seems that little thought was given to things like this.

Trinity is by no means completely inaccessible. There are still many ways around campus, and many resources, but with a growing student body the school needs to expand on various things. Often times, little changes can be made to allow for students to reap all the benefits of a higher education. Multiple copies of items on reserve would alleviate the tension between students who should be helping each other. Earlier hours for both buildings and food services could make it easier for students to be productive and not lazy bums.

While construction on campus is temporary, it seems a bit excessive to have three different construction areas on campus and expect students to park in assigned spots, or even make it to class on time. The on campus shuttle is yet another example of difficulty with students. Their website is generally not ever working, and many students find themselves wondering when and where the shuttle will be. Simple solutions on campus simply include making things more clear, such as pathways, websites, hours of operation (which should also be extended). Seemingly small things to complain about would make a big difference.

While it is easier to point out all the issues and ignore the things already done well, students are always striving to make things better for themselves and others. Trinity wants to have a lasting impression that reveals all the good it has done. When we graduate, many will be praising the different positive aspects of Trinity, but while we are here, constructive criticism is necessary to make Trinity a better place. It’s just a little reminder that each Opinion piece I, and others, contribute isn’t just a rant. There’s definitely ranting in there, but the main point is how to make things better.

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