Concerning UAlbany: grievances of a senior
By CJ Schriber
My status of being a senior at the University at Albany probably imbues me with a lot less patience than you incoming freshmen and returning sophomores. Sophomores, I can assure you, will begin to ease off those rose-colored sunglasses and assume the exact same cynical position I have regarding our totally awesome university.
It has only been a couple of months on the university campus: classes are in full swing, people are starting to warm up to the glowing autumn atmosphere, and the streets are beginning to overflow with rowdy undergraduates looking to have a great time on Saturday nights. While we are on the topic of overflowing, though, let me comment on the apparent overflowing that is occurring right now on a university-wide scale.
Since I am a senior, I have the luxury to choose classes that fit into my schedule at my convenience. I actually only need to come to the campus twice a week, Tuesday and Thursday, which is actually pretty great since I do not need to associate my living quarters with the same place I am detained on a weekly basis (I refer, of course, to class here).
Living off of campus has also opened my eyes to how many kids have come into UAlbany since the year I was a freshman. I mean, UAlbany is a pretty large school; I think the figure for when I was just coming in as an undergrad was approximately 18,000 on-campus residents. Now I understand that UAlbany, like all other universities in the United States, is geared towards branching out and, by doing so, creating more revenue. Let’s face it; at the end of the day, the name of the game is making money.
I can understand this and even appreciate that particular strategy in some warped way. The one thing I do not appreciate, however, is being forced to navigate through a labyrinth of people every single time I step foot on the campus. You see, it is when I am face to face with the reality that the student population is staggeringly increasing, yet not enough action is being taken to facilitate such growth.
The first signs of this were witnessed when the university initiated construction on the State and Indian quads. Indian Quad still looks like the background of some spooky, Transylvanian-style horror movie from the 1960’s; it seems like it has been forever since that scaffolding has hung off the sides of the tower. In the mean time, numerous students have been forced to move across Washington Avenue into hotels because the university is unable to provide these poor individuals with proper housing.
It is quite funny, actually, because I always thought that the tuition the student and his or her family are responsible for paying went in part towards housing and board. I guess I never got the memo that housing can include hotels that are across the street; I’ll be sure to keep that in mind for when I send my hypothetical children to college.
Now, it could be because my patience has grown thin from attending this school for three years, but I feel a majority of the students living on campus will agree with the point I am trying to get across. We pay the tuition fees, which are also skyrocketing because of the aforementioned constructional endeavors the university bureaucrats pursue.
The overcapacity of campus has an effect on third and fourth year students who happen to remember what campus was like before it was converted into a bustling zoo of thousands of people. I mean, seriously seniors, can’t you remember the days when we would walk to class and not have to actively engage in games of chicken with countless other students?
Every time I go to the Campus Center, it is akin to a party poppin’ off on New Year’s Eve. I am not trying to be that guy who enjoys pointing out every minor detail regarding the university’s practices that totally grinds my gears. For this case in particular, though, I must assume that façade this one time.
Perhaps I am harboring a degree of jealousy or personal foreboding towards the fact that incoming students will be able to enjoy the campus life that juniors and seniors have been forced to miss due to these overzealous projects.
As I have already recognized, the university needs to increase its revenue if it is to remain one of the top institutions in the nation. Undoubtedly, the University at Albany is an institution I have taken pride in attending for the past three years of my undergraduate career. I will be graduating next spring and, honestly, I am pretty happy with that fact. However, I just wish that the university, for my last year, would smarten up a bit in terms of the campus-wide conditions they impose, either directly or indirectly. I am sure that those calling the shots did not intend to make campus life for thousands of students difficult, but with laggy Wi-Fi, bustling stampedes of students around every corner, and “luxurious” housing options for a number of incoming students, that is just what it is. But hey, seniors and I will be leaving once this year is over. After that, everything you see will belong to the next generation of Great Danes.