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Like many returning students here at Emmanuel, construction has weighed heavy on my mind for months. And, like so many others, I’m not too thrilled with the work zone that was once my campus. Still, I love Emmanuel, and have great faith in the administrators here. So, you can only imagine my surprise when I knocked on the door of the project manager on a recent Monday morning and found out that construction will continue throughout finals week.
I approached the office with cautious enthusiasm. I had a gut feeling that construction would continue, but I wanted to chalk it up as nothing more than finals week nerves. I was wrong. The project manager informed me that construction would continue “on a more limited schedule.” I reminded the manager that students had to be silent in the halls during finals week so students could study. People have been written up for talking above a whisper. Evidently, pouring concrete at 7:00 in the morning is quieter.
Emmanuel needs to reconnect with its students and its mission. I was under the impression that these 17 acres compose an academic institution first and a construction zone second. My conversation with the project manager showed me otherwise. Putting expansion ahead of education is counterintuitive to Emmanuel’s mission to “educate students in a dynamic learning community.” I came to Emmanuel to receive quality instruction, and in that respect, I have no complaints. My problem arises from the fact that disruptive construction will continue throughout the most stressful week of the semester, apparently without seriously considering the needs of the students who pay to go here. With the amount of planning that goes in to a project of this size, the idea that nobody could find the extra money and time to postpone construction for one week a semester baffles me. If the budget and time frame is that tight, perhaps the college should not have committed itself to such an endeavor.
I agree with the great John Muir in that I support “not blind opposition to progress, but opposition to blind progress.” I want Emmanuel to thrive and be the best college it can be. But in order to do that, a change in policy needs to occur. The project manager told me that they were working with the construction company to cause as little of a disturbance as possible. To that, I have this to say: the construction company works for the college. Cooperation is key, but at the end of the day, the administration calls the shots. They should not be afraid to act in the best interests of their students.
All things considered, I’m genuinely satisfied with my Emmanuel experience. I maintain great relationships with my professors and the Emmanuel professional staff. This school has offered me opportunities that I may not have found elsewhere, and I’ve grown academically, socially, and professionally while here. However, I’m disappointed in what is starting to happen, and I hope to see an outpouring of the Emmanuel compassion that drew me to this school in the first place. I urge the administration to seriously consider student needs throughout the remainder of this project and reflect on what it means to be a part of the vibrant Emmanuel community. It’s time to Go All In and make a change for the better.
Joseph Maspo ’18
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