If PC had the money for one major renovation or new building on campus, how should they use it?
by Andrea Traietti ’21
If Providence College had the money for only one major renovation on campus, they should use it to renovate the older academic buildings on campus. When it comes down to it, PC students are really here for one reason: to learn.
While dorm renovations or new fixtures on campus might be nice, the current status of the residence halls and the looks of campus are not getting in the way of students’ education. The outdated technology and unaccommodating spaces in some of the older academic buildings, however, serve as a consistent barrier to learning.
Specifically, the Feinstein Academic Center and Accinno Hall need updating. The first problem with the classrooms in these two buildings is the space. In both buildings, tables and chairs, or in some cases chairs with attached desks, are crammed into tiny rooms. These rooms are filled with the maximum number of students in most classes, making an already small space feel even smaller.
Even worse, many of the classes in these two buildings are centered on class discussion: history classes, theology classes, even foreign language classes where students’ primary task is to speak, to name a few. The tightness of these classrooms makes it impossible to move desks or chairs to make the room more conducive to class discussion. This results in some people being confined to the ‘outer circle’ and not being able to participate, or others not being able to see the chalkboard or projector.
Speaking of projectors, the second major barrier to academic success in these buildings is their lack of modern technology. The technology that is there does not consistently work and is outdated compared to the equipment in the new science complex. The technology used in the science complex and business school has set a new standard for how rooms should be equipped, and any building that is lacking should be updated to meet this new standard. After all, smart classrooms open the door to new and creative ways of learning.
While there will always be other concerns about residence halls or ways to beautify PC’s campus, updating the older academic buildings on campus would be the most practical and worthwhile use of funds because it would directly improve PC students’ academic experience. And in the end, learning is the most important part of being at college.
by Kelly Wheeler ’21
Although we are very fortunate to attend a university with many state-of-the-art facilities such as the Science Complex and Concannon Fitness Center, there is always a need for renovation at Providence College. Admittedly, several academic and residence halls are overdue for touch-ups. However, if PC were to acquire funding for some sort of transformation on campus, the College should apply it toward the creation of a new student parking lot.
Student parking at PC is extremely limited. Permits are only available to juniors and seniors, and the number of parking spots available to this fragment of the student body remains insufficient. Thus, a lottery process is used to decide which students are able to purchase a parking permit. Unfortunately, the odds do not end up being in the favor of many upperclassmen.
This creates problems for countless students. Although some students enter the parking lottery simply to enjoy the luxury of having a vehicle on campus, many students have a serious need for one.
For example, many upperclassmen have off-site internships or student teaching placements in the Providence area. PC does not provide transportation for these opportunities, meaning students without cars need to find their own way to get there. Many carless students carpool with other students who have vehicles, but issues can result if the drivers are unreliable or they do not have a schedule that is identical to those of their passengers.
Additionally, students that live in on-campus apartments with kitchens typically have modest meal plans (or none at all), so they need to go grocery shopping to purchase food. Doing so can be very inconvenient without a car on campus. Although the RIPTA stops at Shaw’s, it can be difficult to lug bags of groceries onto the bus.
Also, students use their cars on campus as a means of transportation when long weekends or holiday breaks come around. Students often want to go home at these times, but if they were not granted a parking permit, they may be unable to do so if no one is available to pick them up at PC.
Even students that emerge victorious from the lottery process find themselves frustrated with parking on campus. James Galvin ’20 said, “I was lucky enough to get a parking pass my junior year. But parking spots are so limited on this campus that people would park in the student lots even though they didn’t have permits. Because of this, the lots would fill up and I would have nowhere to put my car. I often had to park in visitor parking as a result, and I ended up getting a ticket one time for doing so.”
In conclusion, there is a significant need for more student parking at PC. So, should PC get money to build or reconstruct something on campus, the College should dedicate it to alleviating the large discrepancy between the supply and demand for student parking on campus.
by Marie Sweeney ’20
Each year, Providence College is becoming more popular, and each accepted class has grown exponentially in the past several years. However, the College has failed to accommodate the growing number of students in its outdated residence halls.
This has led to forced quads in both freshman and sophomore housing, forced room changes to accommodate students coming home from abroad, and various other problems. If PC were to receive an unlimited amount of money to update or renovate an aspect of campus there is no doubt that it should be allocated to renovate current residence halls and build new ones to fix this housing issue.
Being comfortable on a college campus is one of the most important aspects in ensuring students stay at their respective school. A student’s living space is a major factor that affects that comfort level. If they are not comfortable in their living space, it can have a negative impact on their life as a student.
The College must listen to the needs of students and prioritize them over other campus renovation projects. The popularity of the school starts with the students and if the students are not happy, the entire school will reflect that.
Coming in as a freshman and being forced to live with three other roommates in a small room can be a stressful and anxiety-inducing experience. It can also lead to further roommate problems. The College needs to allocate money to the building of a new residence hall, especially because the incoming classes are continuing to grow.
As for the quality of the housing, some of PC’s residence halls have been the same since the 1980s, and they look that way. Halls such as Aquinas, McVinney, St. Joe’s, and more desperately need renovation. PC is becoming a widely known and popular school and it needs to keep up to date with its residence halls, which will certainly have an impact on incoming students and parents.
PC must prioritize the comfort and contentment of its students over other projects that need major funding. The lack of student housing and the poor quality of available housing reflects badly on the college’s understanding of student comfort in their living situations. By funding a residence hall project, PC will not only acknowledge and excite current students, but will also further attract incoming students to make PC the best it could be.
Phillips Memorial Library
by Katherine Torok ’20
The Phillips Memorial Library is nothing spectacular when compared to its neighboring buildings: the Ruane Center for the Humanities, the Science Complex, and Harkins Hall. Its boxy exterior made of dull bricks, dark windows, and sand colored concrete feels outdated and mundane compared to the beautiful architecture which surrounds it.
While Ruane and the Science Complex are relatively new in comparison to Harkins and the library, their architecture mirrors Harkins and makes the string of buildings feel cohesive.
The library, on the other hand, feels out of place. It first opened on January 6, 1969, and feels like it came straight from the late 60s and early 70s. Though it is connected to Ruane, the two feel completely different. This is especially apparent when walking from one building to the other through the small Inter-Hub. You transition from walking on dull geometric carpet to sleek tile, toward welcoming natural light. Natural lighting is essential; instead of being subjected to the harsh lighting that emits from the grid-like concrete ceiling of the library, the beautiful windows from Ruane allow for warm light to shine through on sunny days.
The library does have some great study spaces nestled in the corners of the second floor. Yet, they are often occupied due to their panoramic windows which let in an abundance of welcoming natural light.
This is why so many students choose to study in the Slavin Center or the Arthur F. and Patricia Ryan Center for Business Studies; the ambiance is warm and inviting thanks to the massive windows located throughout each building.
Aside from adding more windows throughout the library, it is also essential for the College to invest in different furniture on the first and second floors.
While the basement has bright, fresh, and modern furniture to encourage collaborative group work, everywhere you look on the first and second floor on the library is filled with the same chestnut colored wood.
The desks, tables, chairs, couches, and bookshelves are the same. Switching up the furniture or mixing different styles would be a fun and energizing change. In addition, the geometric carpet could be switched out for something more neutral.
Overall, the Phillips Memorial Library is good, but it could use some freshening up, both inside and out.
The addition of windows, installation of new flooring, updating of furniture, and a possible exterior makeover would create a more inviting environment and ultimately encourage more students to spend time doing work there.
There is no need to rebuild a new library, just continue the updates from the IT department upwards and outwards. As a result, the academic buildings of upper campus would look more cohesive and unified.