By Sasha Zuflacht
Union is a fine institution. We are ranked competitively and recognized nationally. Students travel the world, engage in local community efforts and succeed academically. We get to take pictures of the Nott Memorial and Instagram them every day. We have unlimited resources at our disposal. What’s not to love?
After four years of finding myself and my place at this institution, I am thankful for the opportunities that Union has given me. Union has taught me to challenge the status quo and ask questions others might not. With this mindset, I have developed a more critical view of the Union atmosphere.
The admissions office prides itself on attracting students from diverse socio-economic, cultural and demographic backgrounds. But, what are we doing to make Union a culturally vibrant, diverse institution?
Last week’s issue of the Concordiensis highlighted Union’s newest investment—a 90-inch LED TV. The uproar from the student body is of confusion. What was wrong with the calendar?
The way I see it, you walk into Reamer today and you’re overwhelmed by the showiness of the interior. We have an elaborate $11,000 TV positioned across from a sushi bar. As a non-sushi lover perhaps I’m biased but I think it only contributes to the “yuppie” feel at Union.
We are constantly critiqued as an institution that appeals to students of wealth. In continuing to add these extravagant things to the campus, we may not attract the most diversified student body. My fear is that prospective students may feel they cannot keep up with such an “advanced” institution. What does this say about our values? We work hard to get a diversified student body, yet we tend to highlight things of excess that only appeal to a certain demographic.
Even further, the safety issue of living in Schenectady, N.Y. has forever been a concern. Union has combated these worries with blue lights, campus security officers and the trolley. Union ensures that student safety is a top priority for anyone living on campus. It seems that once you move off campus, things change. The trolley system has been revamped with the installation of a GPS. This is great in so many ways. It’s not great in the fact that trolley drivers are now not allowed to alter their route. For seniors and others living off campus, this means we can only get dropped off at designated stops. This doesn’t help if you live even just a block away from the campus gates. As a frustrated and confused senior, I don’t understand why the trolley system is so strict about this rule. The safety of students is at stake.
Let me reiterate: I love Union. I also would love the chance to change things on this campus. Union is special in so many ways: we have amazing professors, state of the art labs and classrooms and an engaged study body. As inquisitive students are taught to challenge, that’s exactly what I aimed to do in writing this article. The goal of Union is to see students succeed. With the tools and support to succeed, we need to make sure our values are aligned with the Union mission and our safety is always a top priority. I want to see Union continue to grow in a positive direction that appeals to students from all different backgrounds. We have the correct moral compass, we just need to show others this.