By Jennifer Ward
“What could we do better?” President Milagros “Milly” Pẽna asked students last week at the Journalism Town Hall Meeting.
The meeting featured several Purchase administrators who were able to meet with students to speak about the campus’ most pressing concerns, as well as share some exciting news about upcoming projects.
An important issue discussed was the air conditioning in some dorms, or lack thereof it. Senior Director of Facilities and Capital Planning Michael Kopas explained how because the building was built in 1974, air conditioning was not placed in it unlike it has been in other residence halls on campus that are newer, Wayback for example.
“With the cost associated with [replacing the air conditioning], we could probably build a new residence hall,” Kopas said.
One student did question if the air in the building is safe to breathe in and is filtered, considering many are still worried about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Kopas explained how Purchase uses Merv 13 air filters. He explained that there is a certain amount of air exchange per room per hour, so although residents won’t be getting air conditioning, they’ll be breathing clean air.
Yet while some students battle with trying to get air conditioning on their campus, others struggle with other dormitory issues. Fort Awesome seems to be having a lot of difficulties when it comes to fire alarms. According to students, the fire alarm has been going off in Fort Awesome more than in any other residence hall.
Kopas reassured students that this was not an issue they were overlooking. They are working on checking if the system is faulty, although many are led to believe that this may be user error and that students may be setting it off. Students are urged to stay safe and watch what they do in their dorms.
Many students also struggle with flooding. The Olde had terrible flooding in the parking lots and in the building following Hurricane Ida. This seems to be a common theme and worry amongst residents of these apartments. Kopas explained how these are not frequent. During normal storms, he reassured students that flooding is not common and that Purchase is now making the effort to monitor storm traps to make sure the issue does not become recurring.
The building of the on-campus retirement community was also discussed. The senior housing development is supposed to not only give back to the community but students as well, with there being potential jobs opening up on-campus. Along with this, extra money generated from the home may be given back to hardworking students as scholarships, so students were urged to keep an eye out for more information.
Other exciting news is new construction, possibly leading to new picnic tables for students to lounge around in and relax. Construction may be delayed because of the pandemic, but hopefully, these are new projects students can look forward to.
Mental health has also been a major concern harping on students' minds recently. All administrators who attended the meeting reassured students mental health is a top priority. With school capacity being at almost 100%, it can be hard for students having to readjust to such normalcy after the last two years. The counseling team is here for any students who need someone to talk to, as well as the faculty and staff here to help.
Although there are many issues on campus to still keep an eye out for, there are also many exciting things to look forward to as well! Keep an eye out and pay attention because you never know what can be happening next on campus.