Editorial: Invest manpower to keep our campus beautiful

Editorial Board

Human beings are inherently malcontent. That’s why, despite having a sprawling, beautiful, award-winning campus, there probably isn’t a single student out there without a complaint.

Whether it’s unkempt sidewalks, an increasingly dirty Lake LaVerne or any other service or maintenance problem, most students can find fault with our campus. There are people whose job it is to keep campus spectacular — however, Iowa State’s Facilities Planning and Management can’t possibly take care of every tiny detail on campus.

Duties of Facilities Planning and Management consist of maintenance, repairs, installation and so much more. Their work is what makes our campus — from the central lawn to the historic buildings — something to brag about. If students have complaints (and surely, we do), then it should be we who administer these vital repairs.

The Government of the Student Body operates on regularly collected student fees that it uses to fund various student organizations, clubs and activities. These clubs are a vital part of the student experience, which justifies the small expense paid by every single student at the beginning of each semester.

The campus, which serves as gymnasium, cafeteria, nap zone, sports arena and so many other things to so many students, is even more important than these clubs. Regardless of affiliation or hobbies, every student has used the campus for one reason or another. It is our playground, our classroom and our home. Therefore we students should be willing to put time and effort into its upkeep and constant improvement.

On Wednesday, Barry Snell, vice speaker of the senate, briefly proposed an idea for GSB to provide the manpower to enact some of these repairs or changes. Mentioned in the list of campus needs is the replacement of the handles on solar trash compactors around campus — and cleaning up our beloved Lake LaVerne. Though these goals may not seem very exciting, they are things that will directly impact students who are on campus each day.

Cleaning up campus enables students to enjoy the college landscape at its maximum potential. In addition to basic maintenance, there are many small suggestions that students have been making to improve campus. No matter the case, from changing the trash compactor handles so that they are easier to open with occupied hands or adding more streetlights to dimly lit areas, the first step is ensuring that these things can actually get done.

With a Facilities Planning and Management department that is overworked and overbooked for a variety of reasons (the first being our massive student enrollment), it is time for students to step in.

Whether or not GSB officers pull through with this idea, there should be a process through which students can volunteer their time to the campus in specific projects. Perhaps GSB should organize a program in which students can more easily contribute to the maintenance of and improvements upon our historic campus. Students with ideas in mind might very well be willing to contribute passionately and efficiently to a cause that’s important to them. 

If GSB sponsored events or organized group activities where individual students could participate in campus maintenance, improvements would be made much more rapidly. Enabling students to make these changes could ensure that they happen in a timely manner, despite the university’s limited human resources.

We love our campus, but we find fault in it, too. If we can brag about its beauty and national awards, so, too, can we be at least partially responsible for its continued success.