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Students walk through the Rose Garden on Friday, Feb. 5, 2015. Darlene Wendels/the Collegian

Invest in our education first

The most important spaces on any institution’s campus should be the spaces where students are learning.

The focus of attending a university is to learn. So you would think that a university’s top priority would be making sure that students have access to classes, passionate professors and sound adequate classrooms in which to learn.

Fresno State has been working on adding classes. New class options and majors pop up every year. And now with the California Faculty Association having fought for better and livable wages, students are going to reap the rewards of professors who actually want to teach and can afford to keep teaching.

Fresno State is working on what students are being taught and helping those who teach us, but what they are failing to do is help us with where all of this education takes place. Our classrooms and buildings are in desperate need of repair. They are dated and falling apart.

If the rooms in which we are taught are falling to pieces every year, how can we expect student success to be on the rise? Our learning environment needs to be the next big project this university takes on.

Last semester, the sewage system in the Social Science Building failed twice – once during finals. Students still had to come to class and sit through their finals while literally smelling poop, making the permeating thoughts about our finals really crappy. How can we be expected to perform at our best when our learning spaces are actively working against us?

Social Science is not the only faulty building on campus. If you happen to be assigned a class in the Lab School buildings, you’d better hope that it is not during the fall semester. These “classrooms” aka, portables, get incredibly hot during the summer, and whether the air conditioning works in them is a roll of the dice.

If you are not in one of the portables in Lab School, but rather in one of the real classrooms – the thermostats are often bonkers, and when the AC is actually turned on, the lecture is impossible to hear. So here we sit, broken-hearted, tried to learn, but only sweated.

There are bathrooms in the Science Building that do not even have stall doors, just plastic sheeting. We feel part embarrassment and part begrudging regret for choosing Fresno State as we try to pee while intently watching the plastic sheeting, hoping no one throws it open midstream. This anxiety makes students not want to take classes in this building – opting out of courses that could have much to teach them.

Most of the classrooms on campus do not offer enough outlets. For a university that is priding itself on its progressive tablet courses and integration of technology in the classroom, we sure don’t have the means to support a lot of these advances. If you happen to meander into Grosse Industrial Tech, good luck fighting for the few outlets in the classrooms to charge your tablet or laptop.  

On top of all of this, multiple colleges on campus do not have a centralized place for professors and students to meet. Faculty are often spread out amongst multiple buildings, offering no synergy between students and their professors, students with each other or departments within the same college.

The departments in the College of Arts and Humanities are separated across the campus – not offering students the opportunity to cross paths with a field that shares much common ground. This is the reality for many departments on campus. Our education could be better built with synergistic intentions to increase discovery, diversity and distinction if we funneled resources into students’ educational needs.

These are only a few examples. All over campus there are decrepit classrooms which are hindering learning. These older buildings on campus need revitalization. They need the same loving attention and care that we give to the lawns and the aesthetic of Fresno State. While the way our campus looks is its selling point for future students, how and where it teaches its present students will set a brighter precedent for the kind of student success of which this university is capable.

  • Dan Waterhouse

    Ninety five percent of campus was built prior to the advent of laptops and tablets. Science II, the PT/Athletics building, the new part of Madden Library and the soon to be finished Jordan Research building are the most recent. Retrofitting aging buildings with updated infrastructure can be incredibly expensive and not cost effective. Replacement is often the best choice.

    Replacement requires funding-lots of it. That type of funding historically came from the legislature and bonding. The legislature is no longer funding CSU building projects. Dollars either have to come from the regular operating budget or from other sources e.g. bonds or private money. The CSU may pursue a bond issue, which may require voter approval-which can be difficult to get.