Editorial: The Green is gone — what’s next?
Spring semester is a time at which many students mob the green with towels and blankets, wide-eyed high schoolers tour campus with apprehensive parents and graduation pictures abound both in and around the fountain. Most of these moments are happy, or at least appear that way, and, while not without their apparent frivolity and cliche, are the backdrop of lasting memories of students’ time at the university.
In other words, the spring semester is a most unfortunate time to rip the South Green apart.
The otherwise picturesque facade is currently being plowed away by construction vehicles almost as hideous as the underground pipes and dirt that they expose. We presume, of course, that it needed to be done. But this sudden, unannounced and apparently overdue project is but one of many to come on a campus with billions of dollars in deferred maintenance. The construction is just a reminder of administration’s lack of transparency with regard to spending habits and maintenance commitments, and its tendency to leave students out of the loop.
One does not have to look far to find a building with cracked ceilings, broken windows or questionable water. And, yet, one also does not have to look a long way into the distance to notice the shining, glass-panelled exterior of the newly constructed STAR campus. It seems as though the university is not willing to spend money on updating existing structures until they are already falling apart, its sights and funds set elsewhere, particularly down south, where the new and shiny beckons.
The contrast between the dilapidated buildings populating the North Green and the shiny pennies being poured into seemingly unnecessary projects is concerning. It is unnerving to witness so many dollars being spent on glitzy new structures when commonly used classroom buildings, including Gore and McDowell, could have long ago benefited from extensive updates.
The university should provide students with reason believe that tuition dollars are not being thrown toward the prospect of prestige over the promise of safety and practicality. The recent construction and development of STAR campus is the most glaring example of how steadfastly the university ignores maintenance concerns, mentioning them only when claiming there’s not enough money to go around.
Many students agree that the traditional and collegiate architecture of this campus is one of the enduring reasons for its popularity and appeal. Despite this, millions of dollars are being funnelled into the construction of STAR campus, establishing a Silicon Valley vibe that directly contrasts what many undergraduates love most about the university.
When maintenance gets postponed because other, superfluous matters demand more attention, students feel consequences, and not the good ones. The construction on the South Green, concurrent with the construction of the new stadium, offers an illustrative contrast, both projects ensuring that graduating seniors will have a less-than-memorable commencement — one limited by the stringent ticket measures, and one without the usual photos.
Editorials reflect the majority opinion of the editorial board, led this week by Alex Eichenstein. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.