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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Science at Brandeis: the ups and downs

Published: November 18, 2005
Section: Opinions

When I visited colleges two to three years ago, I was not so interested in the campus tours that are so popular for prospective students visiting colleges across the country. I really did not much care what the buildings looked like. Historically designed buildings, innovative building styles, classic architecture blah, blah, blah, blah. Will it affect my college experience that much if there is some intricate design painted on the ceiling or floor of one of the lecture hall buildings or if the buildings form some unique shape? No. Certainly, it is nice to assure that dormitories are not absolute dumps and that the buildings do not look as though three tornadoes have hit them, but beyond that, who cares? Not I. To me, at least, education, be it college, high school, or graduate or professional school, is about the learning, the atmosphere of learning and interactions amongst students and between students and faculty.

Not surprisingly, I harbor some mixed feelings at reading about the proposed project for replacing/enhancing parts of the science complex. As a Chemistry major and Math minor, I spend a good deal of time in the science complex (ok, maybe a good deal of time is a bit of an understatement), and while I am only a sophomore, I have some sense of the science complex and of the science faculty and community here at our beloved Deis. It pleases me to hear of such vast resources being granted to the further development of the Science programs here, but I remind the community that new buildings are obviously not a cure-all, and that there are other important (perhaps even more important?) points of interest to the Sciences at Brandeis, some offered as compliments and others as constructive criticism.

I am, of course, a proponent of sufficient funding for the sciences. I understand the discontent of many faculty and staff with the current state of the Kalman Science Building, among other edifices, as antiquated, energy-inefficient, and otherwise not suitable for Science research and instruction in the twenty-first century. On this note, I am grateful to Brandeis for making the Sciences such a priority as to accept $80 million in debt, and a project tabbed at over $150 million total, in order to better the science community on campus. My thanks go out to the faculty and staff of the School of Science as well as the University at large for striving to improve the state of the Sciences on campus. While pleased with the priority and resources being granted the Sciences, I would like to discuss some of my favorite and not-so-favorite parts of the Sciences here at Brandeis that go beyond the physical buildings that harbor the School of Science.