To the Editor:
As many of us have witnessed, our school is undergoing a facelift. Common spaces across campus are being reworked and reshaped, all in the name of beautification. This in itself is a laudable thing. However, beautification of an educational space should never come before the functionality of that space. In their focus on aesthetics, it seems that some measures taken by the committee have forgotten these spaces’ original purpose: to serve the student body. Speaking as an MCA student, two of the most glaring flaws have been in the removal of both our lockers and our display cases.
MATC is a commuter college. In the face of this fact, it seems the notion to remove lockers, reducing the availability of secure storage spaces for students, is ill-conceived. In these lockers, I and fellow classmates kept props and materials, required tools and toolboxes, ongoing projects and all that which would have been too cumbersome — or impossible — to lug back and forth every day. In winter, we kept our boots and jackets that would otherwise clutter the classroom. We’ve kept texts of our studies, or a change of clothes for work. We kept what we needed, from lunches to ideas, and they created a dedicated physical space for us on campus; a home base, that made it easier to integrate our lives into school, and school into our lives.
Likewise, while lockers gave us space to hold these tools, the display cases provided a place to share what we’d accomplished. Physically decorated with our work, they were a source of pride. They gave us reason to practice our printing, an essential employability skill of our program. They allowed us to show what we had achieved, inspired others to reach, and informed that outside of our program who we were and what we were about. They were an acknowledgment of our efforts and our milestones. And they truly made our halls ours.
These landmarks may have been seen by some as an eyesore, but they were functional – they made our lives easier, aided us in achieving our goals and celebrated our successes. Their biggest flaw was that they were unkempt – their maintenance neglected. Yet, I hold beauty lies in more than an updated façade. The functionality of a space is beautiful. The display of our work is beautiful. The community we create within that space is beautiful. While giving these spaces their long-overdue TLC is something I very much support, if beautification efforts do not put student needs first and foremost, then, to my mind, they will ultimately fall short.
When an organization plans a project, a committee is formed hoping to narrow the focus. This group is armed with the full faith and backing of the organization confident it will execute their vision. Successful projects have one common denominator: feedback.
Information gathered from stakeholders is like gold. Eliminating or ignoring this step can be a project killer. It appears that this committee failed to get feedback from one of its most important stakeholders, the students.
Hopefully, the unintended consequences of leaving our photo students exposed to new security concerns can be resolved. In the meantime, the Times has decided to bring back its decades-long tradition of holding a photo contest. The students in the program are extremely talented and deserve a platform to share.
What’s on your mind? Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to share their insights, concerns, and solutions with the Times. Letters to the Editor can be sent to [email protected]