Growing up near Montclair, New Jersey, I remember coming onto Montclair State University’s campus for various events such as to use the ice skating rink, for sporting events or to swim as a child.
I would see the stately buildings and was enamored. I dreamt of when I would be old enough to go and learn with the adults in Montclair State’s grandiose halls.
When I was accepted, I was elated as my childhood dreams were now real.
But as soon as I arrived in Dickson Hall I noticed, unlike the other buildings on campus, Dickson was old, broken and clearly past its prime and due for renovations.
A cursory glance at the squat building showed that it had previously undergone some shoddy renovations, leading to only half of the building sporting third and fourth floors, sometime in the prehistoric era.
After one class, I went to plug in my dying laptop. To my dismay, I had to try three outlets until I found one that worked.
I also noticed that for some reason, all of the outlets in Dickson were placed upside down, as well as not located in strategic locations. This often makes it difficult to keep up in class, as I have to carefully calculate how much juice I have left, and whether it’s worth following along online with whatever is being taught, dependent on when and if I will successfully find an outlet to charge my device.
In comparison, I once entered Feliciano School of Business, where multiple outlets were gracing every table, not even just every wall. I wondered why those of us learning humanities were less fortunate and deserving of up-to-date technology.
In between my classes, like many students, I would like to find a nice, quiet study space. If I only have a 25-minute break, it’s not worth walking to the library or Cafe Diem to do work, as I would need to walk there and unpack, which would take up to five minutes, and leave after 15 minutes in order to have enough time to repack everything, walk back over to Dickson and make it to my class on time.
Despite the obvious need for study lounges, Dickson doesn’t have any designated, a necessity that’s found in almost every other hall on campus.
Instead, students in Dickson are left to fight for the sparse amounts of seats littering the hallway, or remain in the classroom from their previous class, hoping that there are no other classes taking place at the time.
Additionally, the rooms in Dickson are labeled confusingly, so much so that I once went on a 10-minute scavenger hunt to find room 205, just to find it hiding across from the 280s. I even had to interrupt several people in their offices to get directions.
The room numbers follow no logical order, creating a maze-like confusion. Attempts to curb this are evident by the signs pointing in various directions to direct people to whichever wing they’re looking for but are inhibited by the often contradictory nature of the signs themselves.
Once inside any given room, either the A.C. is blasting, or the heat is turned way up. This is due to the old heating and ventilation systems that have never been updated.
However, some rooms are naturally colder or warmer depending on their location and this universal temperature system causes discomfort as it doesn’t take into account different rooms’ tendencies.
It’s time for Montclair State to do better. Dickson Hall needs renovations and updated technology, yesterday. The administration needs to show that they care about all of their students, not just those in certain colleges. They need to demonstrate that the humanities matter too, and take appropriate action to do so.