As I headed out of my dorm for breakfast a few days ago, I noticed that the path I usually take was blocked off by construction. Later that day, as I made my way back, I noticed another path had also become inaccessible due to construction. These are by no means major inconveniences, but I believe that communication regarding construction on campus, which has become rather extensive, could be improved.
Outside of the Orange Bubble, when construction sites spring up, clear notices are posted beforehand so that locals are aware of what is going on, how long the project will take, and how they will be impacted. This allows them to plan around the inconveniences of construction such as loud noises and obstructed routes.
Yet, as students living on a campus with significant ongoing construction projects, we are not granted the same courtesy. Instead, we are left to find out about the construction in more disruptive ways. Rather than being directly informed ahead of time, we discover new construction through encountering impeded routes on our walks to class or waking up to construction noise right outside our window.
I want to stress that while inconvenient, these are nonetheless minor problems we are dealing. I appreciate the hard work going into the beautification of our campus. However, there are consequences of construction sites that go beyond merely blocking a particular path or producing unpleasant noises.
First and foremost, there are certain safety concerns worth considering in regards to the lack of communication with students about new construction sites. For example, while I had no difficulty figuring out an alternative route to the dining hall upon discovering the large fence that now borders one of the entrances to my dorm. In an emergency, this would prove much more consequential. If the fire alarm were to go off, students’ ability to evacuate would be greatly hindered due to obstructed routes. While this circumstance is rare, it is nonetheless a possibility and thus merits consideration of construction notices.
Another concern in regards to the lack of notice about new construction is the noise. Beyond merely helping students anticipate the unpleasantness, issuing warnings about construction and the hours during which it will take place will also allow students to properly plan for meetings and job interviews. While many events have returned to being in-person, the days of zoom are not over yet: meetings with advisors and professors as well as job interviews still often take place virtually.
Usually in order to be in a quiet space to take a zoom call, I would return to my dorm during the day. However, since the expansion of construction on campus, there have been various instances where I had to find an alternate space for fear that the noise of construction from my room would negatively impact my call. Even though this problem is not a terrible one, it could have been avoided by the University through simply communicating with students about what construction projects will be taking place where and when.
Such communications could take the form of emails or TigerAlert texts to students with information about the location and duration of new construction projects. Alternatively, the University could directly post notices at the construction sites about the length of these projects. These forms of communication would allow students to adequately anticipate and plan their daily activities around new construction.
While I appreciate these efforts to improve and expand our campus and its facilities, I would also appreciate being told about them in advance to help plan around their inconveniences.
Ava Milberg is a sophomore from New York City. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.