With less than three months until spring graduation, the editors of the Independent Collegian find ourselves in the difficult position of having a majority in the same class and leaving the school come May.
Reflecting on our time here has left us with a few very specific ideas that only years of walking the same campus can give you. We don’t want our campus knowledge to go to waste, so we present the top nine things we believe need to be done at UT to better student life.
1. More sidewalks
Simply put, we think there needs to be a sidewalk with a direct path between Bowman-Oddy and the Field House. There is already a path worn down in the dirt that students walk every single day, so why not just pave it to prevent the ruined ground and our muddy boots?
2. Lights and cameras
This is an issue we have addressed a few times throughout the year but still one that we find to be of the utmost importance. The safety of students is crucial to us, and we believe that the lack of cameras and appropriate lighting in the parking garages and parking lots on campus poses a serious security risk.
Though no major violent crime has occurred in any of these areas due to these lapses quite yet, we worry that it is only a matter of time. Why not address the problem before it becomes a threat? We need to make campus safety a priority.
3. Keep dining open later
Many of the dining options on UT’s campus currently close before the last classes are done. This causes a major inconvenience for anyone with an afternoon course or planning a late study session at the library. Keeping dining options open later would be a huge convenience to students on campus. People eat dinner past 6 p.m.!
4. UT Alerts expanded
Already, we have found that the UT Alert system has been underutilized for its intended purpose, and that poses a risk to UT students. But not only do we believe that UT Alerts need to be utilized in all instances of crime on campus, but we also think that it could be expanded to cover road closings and accidents surrounding the university.
If students were alerted in advance of issues on certain routes and to accidents that may be blocking their paths, it could make the commute to campus much easier. This could save students time and gas money as well as hours of frustration and angry glares from your professors when you walk in late, again.
Enough has been said, but we’re tired. At the very least, we do not need to take away spots that are currently available and do everything we can to make it easier for students forced to park far away to make it to campus on time and without freezing to death.
This includes efficient busing and no heavy road construction blocking spots and drivers during school hours. Events that require community members to park on campus should redirect these people to more underused lots so as not to disrupt students’ days.
6. Transparency and engaging UT administration and staff
We believe that, under President Sharon Gaber, UT administration has taken great steps to ensuring the well-being of its students. However, we fear this trend may not continue.
We encourage all students to get involved on campus and to question administration and demand answers. We need to encourage a campus atmosphere of equality and open dialogue between students and those in charge.
7. Student Government
The same thing stands for student government. We believe that it is crucial that SG remains in constant attention to the wide range of needs its student body has. This includes maintaining close relationships with student leaders and conveying their needs to administration appropriately.
8. Communication Department
UT needs to provide more opportunities for students interested in a career in print journalism. Out of the 50 communication courses offered at UT, only Reporting, Media Writing I and Feature Writing offer any knowledge about print journalism. Even then, the classes aren’t enough in teaching students how to publish their work. Students should not have to float around and take a bunch of classes in communication and English to be prepared. It only prepares them for a career in communication, not print journalism.
9. All-inclusive campus
Finally, we hope that UT continues to take steps toward a more inclusive campus environment. Since Gaber’s initiation, we have seen changes such as the creation of the vice president of diversity and inclusion position currently held by Willie McKether.
This step was crucial, and we need to continue to make improvements to racial inclusion while also recognizing the wide range of need in the student body.
We need to ensure accessibility of all kinds for those living with disabilities and encourage a culture of religious, gender, sexuality and identity tolerance.
We hope to use the knowledge we have accumulated throughout our four years at the university to help the next generation of students surpass the inconveniences we suffered. Do better and continue to make the University of Toledo everything it can be.
Sincerely, 2018 graduates Bryce, Emily and Jessica!