Editorial: Dear Mr. President

Editorial: Dear Mr. President

Dear Mr. Timothy Hall, President of this great institution that we call Mercy College,

There is so much to praise about Mercy College. I have loved my time here, and have made friends and memories that will last forever. But of course, there is always room for improvement, which is why we need to advertise our strengths better and focus on addressing the areas we need to improve.

Students are not seeking perfection, but they will never stop striving for it.

I know that it is impossible to perform miracles overnight, but a lot of the complaints by students concern simple actions that could be easily addressed, yet I feel have been avoided for years. As a student who has been here for three years, I have watched this school progress slowly. Now that the presidential search is over, I think it is time to raise the bar on the students’ expectations of the school.

First, students need to face reality. They want to see changes overnight. They want new dorms to be built in the blink of an eye. They want a five star chef to be hired for the cafeteria. They want top notch facilities and every faculty member to be accessible at all times. I know these goals are more difficult to achieve than some of my peers may think. Yet listening to the suggestions of the student body can help create a great environment for hire learning.

Where to start? One building at a time, of course.

Mercy Hall, the building for student services and financial aid, is not a visited location for an enrolled student.  But thinking back to the process of getting to Mercy College, I was in the building almost twice a week. I understand it is difficult to keep track of so many students and each individual’s concerns and needs.  But when I was a senior in high school, just trying to get into college, Mercy Hall was my nightmare. The drab blue carpet that surrounded displeased faces still haunts me until this day. Financial aid was a huge complication for me. Not to mention the handling of transcripts, immunization cards, FAFSA and student loans made me want to pull out every single one of my hairs, but I fought through it. It’s not an easy process anywhere. But it needs to be more efficient.

I prayed that the  residential life building would be a lot better. And it was. Surprisingly, it has seen a big improvement over the past few years. As I said before, I understand it is impossible to build new dormitories overnight, but currently we do not have a building adequate for many students to live on campus. Yet why don’t we? Why shouldn’t we strive to be like a big family, especially with incoming classes living closer together? Point blank, the hotels are too far away from the actual campus itself. The closest one used to be only three miles away, but they are farther now. I continue to hope that the hotels are a temporary solution to the living situation on campus.

I never really had a huge problem with Residential Life, but I also think it would be much easier for security of the res life building to not let outsiders in by using color coded I.D’s. Residents would be blue, hotels would be green, and commuters red or white. This is one of the only complaints I hear from my peers about security.

“He doesn’t even live here.  Why is he in the building?”

Now I know that argument goes both ways, because others complain, “Security made me search through my bag for my I.D, why didn’t they just let me in?”

Some people may never be happy. Nonetheless, small changes do need to happen for safety and efficiency.

Since we are on the note of safety, the amazing reputation of the R-lot will take hours to explain. Thesis papers can be written on “Why we hate the R-Lot” and the overall parking situation. I don’t drive, yet to say I don’t care isn’t true. Coming from dozens of people wanting me to write this to you publicly, the R-Lot is not safe at all. If we are forced to park down there because staff and faculty have the reserved spots between Mercy Hall and Residential Life, at least make us feel better about parking there. There is barely any light, a safe path or eyes on the R-lot. Though this may be very dramatic, it is true. Walking in the dark on a campus that should be “closed and private” while outsiders regularly walk during the day with their dogs on our property is, simply put, scary. Students are not happy with the solution. No parent would be either.

Suggestion: why not pave the R-Lot to be just as high as the regular parking lot? There will be more eyes on it, and students won’t feel concerned to walk down it.

It would take one accident or bad situation to change to stain our great school. Why wait for that to happen when there can be action now?

Speaking to students on campus, brings other suggestions, of course. Make an actual Study Center so the library doesn’t sound like a Buffalo Wild Wings during the Super Bowl. Plus, living three years with the same food from Lessing’s is a blessing and a curse. The blessing is the progress that I have seen the quality of the food and hygiene of the café. The curse is everything else. Honestly. Stepping up the quality of the food in the cafeteria should be a priority. Some peers have told me of getting sick because of the disregard for allergies and the bland taste. As for our studies, for programs to grow, they need facilities and full-time faculty. Adjuncts at Mercy are wonderful, but office hours and faculty spending time on campus strengthen a program tremendously.

Invest in us, and we will invest in you.

As I said before, I love Mercy College. We can all always be better. Better students. Better faculty. Better administration. Together, we will become a better college.