Wednesday, February 4, 2009

"I couldn't make the final because I wasn't finished with the rock wall back at the dorm"

(Title from Rate your Students)

Hm.... The students at the university where I teach have a chic apartment complex called "Student Village" which appears to fit the profile of the new luxurious dwellings for undergrads that are being developed across the country. I decided to follow the ink from RYS and check out Time Magazine's photos essay on "The Evolution of the College Dorm."

Indeed, I soon found featured the picture of the rock wall (and description below) at the "Fit Rec" at my very own university! (the campus Fit Rec is too huge, multi-floored and posh for my taste so I canceled my membership after a few months, plus I pay less at Gold's Gym).

From Time:
An Uphill Battle
Tanning salons, pool waterfalls, Mongolian grills, and hot tubs large enough for 15 people are some of the amenities offered at colleges across the country — like Boston University's new 35-foot climbing wall. Sandy Baum, a senior analyst for the College Board, says students are driving the trend: "It's not so much colleges wanting to be country clubs, it's students who want to live in country clubs." At this summer's conference for the Association of College & University Housing Officers, administrators swapped stories about the more outlandish requests they've received. (One tale involved a freshman who wanted to know about housing accommodations for his butler, who had accompanied him to the dorms).


H wanted to know: How much does it cost to live in "Student Village"? Do students who can't afford student village have to either commute from home or live in the (now I realize how aptly named) "student ghetto" of neighboring Allston/Brighton (where in fact we live)? Alston was (strangely) recently named one of the worst places to live in America.

Now, I have never toured the John Hancock Student Village or been closer than seeing it while riding my bike down Commonwealth Ave., but when I went looking for a photo, found this amateur video. The view is so beautiful (and apartment so large) I felt like crying...

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

That is OBSCENE!!! Shame on BU!

Edmond Caldwell said...

I think it's perfectly accurate for Allston to be considered one of the worst places to live in the U.S.
Where I live (in that general area) is indeed one of the worst places imaginable to live - precisely because it is like living in a dorm!

Dan said...

I can't believe it. That's just shameful. Who are these people to think they can live better than we did, or even do? We had to deal with pupu platter, buildings from the 1800's, crazy roommates. There was probably a cockroach in there somewhere. They're not even real people, with jobs, they're kids. Their parents must be bankers. Make them give back the money! There's federal aid in that whole mess, you know. Makes me sick to think that the next generation has it better than we did.

Well, at least they still have single beds, cause, you know, college kids don't sleep around.

HumanProject said...

Ha ha, Dan. Touche.

I feel uncomfortable that I implied that as a professor I live less well than those students in Student Village. I embrace my lifestyle choices damnit! I get on my less-materialistic-than-thou soap box about it all the time, don't I. And I learned from Dan that professors aren't the only professionals who are paid less than lawyers/doctors relative to years of training.
Of course its a great job and if I don't want it there'll be 500 applications of people who do, and if I didn't have tenure I'd be nervous as hell like the rest of Americans.

In fact I have a very nice lifestyle since H bought the white noise sound machine to mask the hollering of those college kids brawling outside of the bar across the street.

I agree that BU had to build student village to keep up with what some students expect and what they can get if they put their tuition dollars elsewhere. If students aren't complaining about the cockroaches they have one less excuse for not studying.

Sophie said...

I actually think the rock wall is a great addition. Symbolically it can be seen as a physical representation of what they're going through. It also gets them off their butts and moving and doing something other than climbing things out in the streets. Hey it coulda been worse. The school could have spent their parents well earned dollars on something like an arcade or those lottery scratch ticket machines that are popping up everywhere.

HumanProject said...

Oh, Sophie, I was charmed by your cute comment. You made me think about the virtues of the rock wall. I realized I agreed that its time for an arms escalation against the forces of obesity.

If *they* are going to mount a junk-filled 24-hour convenience store with 2 rows of candy and 3 aisles of chips, then *we* have to come back with an equally (or stronger) response. I'll match your wall of dorritos with a -- with a -- 40 foot climbing rock wall!

So Sophie, you got me thinking, girl. You gave my brain a whirl.

Imagine my chagrin when I learn you're just trolling for eyeballs, and not for your own eyeballs to read your own unpaid-for-words ("Will blog for praise"), but eyeballs for one of the corporate overloads. Your name is an ad.

But what an ad it is. I might even bookmark "Despair Inc." Still trying to mount a response....

HumanProject said...

Ha ha. I meant "overlords..." will my typos never cease... at least it wasn't "please accept our resububmission..." the famous typo to NIH that my grad students never let me forget...

Sophie said...

Okay, first off...I'm not a troll. I am in no way affiliated with the website that I happened to fill into the URL slot. I just thought it was an appropriate url to provide for a psych professor. Secondly, I can see how you may think that installing an expensive wall for the kids to climb at BU might seem ridiculous, and to ignore the whole obesity issue for a minute, I still think it's worth a large university's while to provide something for their students. BU is one of the largest and well known schools in the world. Not to recite their stats, but the fact that such a diverse community makes up the school population means that the school is a community unto itself. Many of the students that come from far and wide will not want to readily leave the safe confines of their community, ie. campus. I know because I've been there and done that. Thus it's in the schools interest to provide something for these students. Even if it's a stupid climbing wall.

HumanProject said...

Sophie,
I'm totally with you -- I like the rock wall, even independently from the obesity epidemic.

I'm very glad to know about despair.com -- good idea to leave its url. I may write more about it.

The philosopher Peter Sloterdijk wrote Critique of Cynical Reason where he says the default approach in contemporary culture is what we see on display at despair.com. Yes, its funny. But do we want to wear those T-shirts or use those demotivator caldenars? Not sure...

Sophie said...

I suppose it is easier to be cynical. Optimism always requires a sort of active effort of thinking or looking at things in a certain way.