The 2012-2013 school year was filled with plenty of excitement and transformation. As Puget Sound’s 125th birthday fades into a history of accomplishments, I asked students what the biggest change at Puget Sound was for them.
Most responses had to do with the new residency options that will soon become available. Beginning in the 2013-2014 academic year, students will be required to live on campus for their first two years at the University.
While the new residence hall being constructed is a highly anticipated addition to campus infrastructure, there are some who see it as an impediment of sorts. “I’m kind of sad about the new building … it obstructs the view of Mt. Rainier from Wyatt,” Camille Chapin said.
The new residence hall, scheduled to be ready for occupancy by August, will have five academic communities, as well as a gallery and rooms to accommodate large meetings. Ever since the walls were erected, there has been no way to regain some of the visibility of the nearby scenery.
Another student stated that the “two-year live-on requirement will make a major difference,” but will hopefully be a positive approach toward building better connections to campus.
Some continuing students have been upset about the restrictions for housing opportunities, but the rule is already in place for incoming students. “I live off-campus and it’s hard to be included,” Danielle Shultz said. “But being a Perspectives Leader has opened my eyes to see how Puget Sound intends to be inclusive.”
Other responses centered on the food at the Diner. “I really do feel like the food has gotten better. There are more options,” Nicci Condon said.
The Diner has been working throughout the year to improve performance and increase the quality of food options. Recently, the Diner hired a new executive chef to oversee food preparation and encourage innovation.
Additionally, new water filling stations have been installed, pho bowls have become available, and the availability of gluten-free foods has increased. Students are always welcome to leave comment cards for the administration to consider.
I also asked students how Puget Sound could continue to change in the future. Most suggestions targeted the sustainability initiatives that Puget Sound has adopted.
“We could be more environmentally friendly, especially with water usage,” Sierra Maloch said. She mentioned how there can be a lot of grievances about the lawn care. Using too much water is problematic to environmentally aware students, but not using enough takes away from the growth, appearance and texture of the lawn.
A lot of discussion centered on having more recycling in the S.U.B. and other ways to sustainably dispose of products throughout campus.
“Sustainability is a lot of talk and not a lot of action,” Lucas Henken said.
Looking to the future, Puget Sound could benefit from not only identifying problem areas, but also working to implement more solutions in which students can actively participate.
Danielle Shultz stated that the “campus lacks a realistic view on the community it is in.”
Some students worried that the two-year residency requirement might contribute to the noticeable problem of the “Puget Sound bubble” because students will spend the first two years centered and sheltered on campus.
Perhaps more outlets can be available for beginning and continuing students to bring their educational experience into the outside neighborhoods and to engage with the greater Tacoma community.
This year has held a wide range of changes as Puget Sound students, staff, faculty and alumni work toward making campus a dynamic place for students to learn and grow. Who knows what changes will happen next year?