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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Summer changes at ‘Deis

Published: September 4, 2009
Section: Opinions

Welcome back. How was your summer? Did you go to Israel? Well, I was here over the summer, and was privy to many of the changes that the campus underwent.

So, it isn’t finished yet, but the new Admissions center is looking pretty good. Not necessarily in terms of style, but in terms of the bigger campus picture, the aesthetics of the new building are a nice fit. Before, the unique style of the campus center stood out amongst the blocks of brick and cement. Now it has a nice little link to another part of the campus. It is also nice think of the Admissions center as the campus center turned on its side, which is essentially how I think of the design of Ridgewood compared to the Village. It actually would be kind of awesome if Brandeis’ theme for new buildings were flipping and distorting the shapes of existing buildings in space. But that is mostly because I don’t think that anyone would ever be down for making the theme classically attractive buildings that do not look thick and heavy enough to withstand nuclear disaster.

As much as I enjoy the feeling of traipsing through a field on my way to class from the Village each morning, it seems foolish to get rid of a parking lot when we are all too aware of Brandeis’ parking problems. As a lowly student worker in the Office of Development and Alumni Relations I am all for pandering to prospective students, but there are definite qualms I have with permanently taking away resources from students, faculty and staff to do so. Yeah, yeah, cars are bad, I know. But people do drive around campus, and they need places to park, and limiting the access to spaces will not solve that problem. Whoa, abstinence-based sex-ed parallels. Which obviously leads me to…

I was a bad Catholic in the going-to-Mass department this summer. But I can certainly get excited about the church at Brandeis. The Bethlehem Chapel is going to be renovated soon. Such was the big news at Mass last week, aside from the fact that paper cups apparently come with collapsible handles now. I’m sure the other chapels will get spruced up as well. But one of the main differences between traditional Catholicism and Protestantism is the quality of the house of worship (St. Peter’s vs. someone’s barn), so I am just putting it out there that maybe we should get some pews and pretty, pretty windows. With the ever increasing size and diversity of our first-year classes, it seems that those lovely buildings by the pond will be getting more traffic anyway, and it only makes sense to make them more welcoming.

Oh, and then there’s the Rose. The Rose Art Museum is basically just a box with amazing art hidden in it. There is an installation of slowly decaying garbage, glue and creepy body parts outside of it that says more than I could. Go sit on the tiled bench though, it’s fun.

On sort of a final note, it is not cool that Brandeis gets around building elevators by building first floors of residence halls as semi-basements or labeling them as ground floors. The A house in the Village has an elevator because it has a fourth floor, but the C house does not because it has three floors and a basement. It is the same number of stairs. East is a nightmare as well, but I no longer live there, so it doesn’t matter as much.

I wish you all the best for the upcoming year. It seems like the school is emerging from its hardships and returning to some semblance of normalcy. Have fun before you drown under the burden of your course loads. Don’t stress too much. Go build a pillow fort or something and hope that Brandeis has a better year than last year.