To the class of 2013: you have come to Oxy at a very interesting time. Our school has gone through many changes in the last couple of years. While there has been a lot of progress, I am going to focus on a few things I’d like to see changed. First of all, every single one of you is going to have to live on campus for three years. Oxy students before you did not have to do this, and I don’t think you should have to either. Part of the college experience is having the freedom to move to your own place with friends if you so desire. Living on campus isn’t bad, but it shouldn’t be forced on students. I moved off campus my sophomore year and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I can manage my bills, cook some pretty edible food, throw a few parties, and live my life. It seems that the administration changed this policy without really consulting us until after the fact, with the hope that, since it wouldn’t directly affect us, we would overlook the flawed decision-making process. I don’t think we support the result, but odds are we might grudgingly allow it to stand anyway.
The campus has also gradually moved to first-year specific dorms. This was not the case my first year, and I feel lucky to have lived with a mix of class years. While it was difficult having many of my close friends graduate last year, living with them my first year was crucial to my experience at Oxy. I hope you find other ways to overcome the isolated housing situation so we get to meet some of you.
I’d like to add one more example of an Oxy policy worth combating. I am speaking of the limited hours that the athletic facilities are open over the weekend. It opens at noon only to close again at five, when the sun is most brutal. The weekend is when we have more time off to go play sports or workout. The marginal benefit here to us has to be more than the marginal cost for the school of keeping everything open a few extra hours. To be fair, this policy hasn’t exactly changed since I’ve been here, but twelve to five isn’t very impressive.
Perhaps campus safety officers could take a vote on whether they would be willing to put in a few extra hours to help us keep the facilities open. Maybe we can convince Telefund to have a campaign to raise money for that cause. In any case, extending the hours will at least appease those who have to live on campus for so long, which makes it a good administrative decision. Great progress has been made on extending the hours of the library, Cooler, and coffee cart, so why not add this to the list? By the way, thank you to campus safety for being a part of that.
Now is the time to start a dialogue within the school. Even though you probably have less free time than you think, you also probably have more free time than you are used to. Why not try to change some stuff that you don’t quite agree with? You’re going to be around-and I mean literally less than half a mile away-from campus reality for a lot of the next three years. Seems kind of irritating, no? But don’t simply bury the irritation and layer it into your life. Don’t forget to acknowledge and think about whether it’s worth it to you right now, to do something about what is getting in the way of a school that is otherwise pretty on-point. And you’ll probably meet and recruit some of us to help along the way.
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