There are some graduating Wildcats this semester who haven’t gone a day on campus without encountering construction somewhere. Whether it’s with the building of the shiny new Jamrich, the teardown of Payne Hall or the arrival of the latest set of dorms, students have had to dodge fences and cones.
With the arrival of the handful of roundabouts, it leaves us questioning if the whirring of building equipment is worth it. Do these updates truly benefit NMU and its community?
We can understand the removal of asbestos and the implementation of more accessibility features. Surely incoming freshmen (and their parents) can agree that it is easier to have an elevator handy to move a mini-fridge up three stories. A lot of these updates are long overdue if NMU wishes to compete with other universities across the United States.
At the same time, it does leave a sour taste in the mouths of students coming to seek the once “Northern Naturally” if outside their windows sits fresh concrete. What happens when a student’s favorite tree to lounge under is downed in the name of updating? Many Wildcats come seeking degrees at Northern purely because of a love of nature.
In the current state of enrollment decline, NMU should always be working to better itself. But this doesn’t always mean updating the look of its buildings or forcing students to shuffle around construction zones on their way to class. Perhaps the new dorms don’t need giant windows and outdoor patios, and maybe the City of Marquette doesn’t need six roundabouts in the name of safety.
The strength of a university also lies with instructors and their ability to engage their classrooms. When Wildcats reach the end of their years here, they aren’t always going to remember the fanciness of their floor tiles or how cool their bathrooms were—but they will remember their professors. Education, not updating, should always come first on a college campus.
As more orange cones roll in with the implementation of Marquette’s new roundabouts, students need to recognize that updates may look cool and new, but come at the sacrifice of the best interests of current Wildcats.