What is the first thing most students wake up to every morning?
A screeching alarm, usually. Maybe the dog next door, trying to prove a point to the groaning garbage truck right outside your window, which conveniently shows up to work before the sun does.
And what do we hear on our way to school on traffic-ridden streets? Maybe music blaring (never the good kind) from car windows or the honking of hurried drivers and screeching of last-minute brakers.
When we finally arrive at school, what is the last thing we want to hear? Is it the constant tree trimming outside of the Speech Arts building or the unnecessarily loud dance music spilling from the speakers in the food court Pit?
Whatever it is, it’s distracting. The amount and volume of the noise on this campus during all hours is, for lack of a better word, annoying.
Students who have classes in or around buildings such as McKee Fisk, Speech Arts and Professional Human Services, we sympathize with you. You hear it all – from the growling lawnmowers that groom the Peace Garden outside the library to the heart-stopping bass of every Lil Wayne song that pours from the Pit.
And how many of us have walked past campus’ own brimstone-and-fire evangelists and thought, “This is the Free Speech Area – not the Free Shout Area”? You can’t even turn to talk to your walking buddy because these guys get louder with every word.
This week, the noise pollution at Fresno State spread as tree trimmers brought out their chainsaws near the Speech Arts building.
Students are not the only ones complaining. Professors who teach in nearby classrooms also become distracted by outside commotion and have to re-organize their thoughts mid-lecture, according to their students.
As adults, we understand the need for campus maintenance and upkeep. As students, it is hard to rationalize why these things are scheduled for 8 a.m. Monday morning instead of in the afternoon or evening when fewer classes are held.
Ideally, construction and maintenance would be scheduled on weekends, during scheduled breaks or on school holidays – a time when students are usually off campus. It wouldn’t be as big of a deal if these distractions were not an everyday occurrence.
Students know that some of these problems, such as maintenance crews having other customers and scheduling conflicts, are out of our hands.
But what about the midday concerts taking place in the Pit where students like to chat and study or inquire at nearby booths? Simply walking by is enough to give you a migraine. The DJs could turn down the tunes to a reasonable level that still provides entertainment for the people who want it, but does not disturb the people who don’t.
And to the pushy preachers: You don’t have to go home, but do you have to yell here?
The university needs to hold the noise level of the space outside the classroom to the same standard that is expected within the walls.
This is, after all, an institution of higher learning. Instructors worry about cellphones being a distraction during class, but surely they are not as big of a nuisance to the educational experience as woodchippers and rock music.