To acquire wisdom, one must observe

Remember we’re here too

This past week, community members returned from break and campus resumed operating at full capacity. But some students were unable to leave campus for the week-long February break, and many were left feeling like the university forgot they were there. Between having minimal dining hours and options and lack of maintenance in corridor-style housing, students were left feeling deserted during break. Some of the members of the editorial board stayed on campus during the February break, as did many Brandeis students. It seemed that there were more students left on campus than what the university anticipated, based on available resources. We do want to acknowledge all the hard work that Brandeis staff put in to make our time on campus as easy and safe as it can be, and we recognize that staff members certainly deserve breaks as well. We also acknowledge that it is necessary for campus operations to downsize with a smaller portion of the population on campus. However, there were some less-than-ideal situations that occurred as a result of the drastically reduced dining hours offered over the break. Sherman was the only dining hall open and there were a few days when Einstein’s and the C-Store were open with reduced hours compared to normal. Sherman also served a smaller selection of food and had reduced seating. However, with the reduced hours, students were all congregating in the dining hall at the same time, which made it difficult to find a table during the rush hour. With fewer stations, food was also running out. It was during these times that it seemed apparent the university had simply not anticipated this many people staying on campus for the break. The reduced hours also were not advertised clearly to students at first, students watched as dining workers were instructed to take food away as they came to the dining hall for food. It got to a point where students who had just walked into the dining hall and used a meal swipe ended up leaving Sherman to go to Chipotle to get food since the food was being taken away as the dining hall was closing. Again, it is understandable to reduce operations on campus during the break; however, the degree to which it was decreased was potentially too drastic. 

It was also highly comical considering how many tour groups were being paraded around the campus over the course of the break. How can you advertise yourself as a university to prospective students when you forget about them once they are here? Think about the number of sports teams that are required to stay on campus over break because they are in season. Members of the fencing, swim and dive, track and field, softball and baseball teams all stayed back on campus as they are actively in season. In addition to these teams, many international students or non-local students are not able to travel back home for the break. It would be unproductive for us to not propose a solution to this problem that we experienced firsthand. Perhaps the university should send out a survey to identify how many community members are remaining on campus to better identify the needs of the community, similar to the one sent out prior to the break between the fall and spring semesters. Students being unresponsive might not give the most accurate results, but hopefully the students staying on campus would respond, and it could give the university a better idea of how many students they must be responsible for over the break. Also, for students living in corridor-style dormitories, the bathrooms soon became flooded with trash after not being cleaned for the week. The thought that bathrooms would need to be cleaned less often due to the reduction of students makes sense; however, if not as many students are leaving campus then this logic no longer applies. Instead, you have the same occupancy and a reduced maintenance staff. Again, we want to say that maintenance deserves a break as well, but a plan needs to be in place for students living in corridor-style housing—perhaps leaving cleaning supplies for students to use in the bathrooms. 

Once again, we appreciate the efforts of the dining hall and maintenance workers who remained on campus to assist students, and we hope the administration takes these thoughts into account for the next mid-semester break.

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