8 years ago

Campus comes back to life during the fall after a slow summer semester, and this year the sense of heightened activity is compounded by construction, renovation and change. The following is a collection of hits and misses board members have noted as UTD begins another academic year.
If “whoosh” is the comet spirit sound, then “boo-ish” seems to be a logical antonym.

Crowding
Whoosh: Portable buildings sometimes make Arts & Humanities and education majors gaze longingly at the swanky School of Management and Engineering buildings, but prioritizing new building space for specialized study in UTD’s traditional areas of strength makes some sense. The new portables will ease some of the crowding issues and will make new ventures, like this semester’s musical, more feasible.
As long as the class of 2022 isn’t still waiting for word of a new A&H building, this seems like a fair solution.
Boo-ish: Some classes are overcrowded, leaving students sitting in the aisles as professors scramble to find different accommodations, if any are available.
We recognize that people want to graduate and that classroom space is at a premium ahead of the Founder’s renovation and new buildings that will open in 2010, but students need to be able to hear and write comfortably. The administration can’t heavily overbook classes then hope that enough students drop the class by midterms.
Construction
Whoosh: Even with construction blocking major thoroughfares on campus, UTD is still easier to navigate on foot than many large campuses. Walkways like the one between McDermott Library and the Student Union (SU) have been helpful. The handy driving circle is now open, and the hill at the center is practically begging for a Temoc statue with an eternal flame for hair.
Our hats are off to whoever relocated those portable toilets that were making a crappy impression on everyone entering the Student Union or The Pub.
Boo-ish: College is all about preparing for a better future, but a few more improvements would help the loud, dusty draught go down more smoothly. Students have been complaining about dilapidated Lot A-D for years.
Even if a large scale refurbishment is slated for those lots, filling big potholes now would be a welcome gesture. Scantron vending machines would be a welcome sight to students trying to make it to the rubble-ensconced UTD Bookstore to get a blue book and make it back to class for a test.
Electronic upgrades
Whoosh: Orion integrates course lookup into the registration process, which streamlines the process of setting a schedule. The new system also takes short term loan applications, which have the power to turn a early semester visit to Financial Aid into a nightmarish wait in line, can now be created instantly online and managed alongside other financial information in Orion.
Boo-ish: Orion is unwieldy and unattractive in its current incarnation. And along with Orion, UTD students may routinely use Galaxy and eLearning, making for a login triathlon each time a student wants to view all of his or her information.
Food & Drink
Whoosh: We’ve heard nothing but good reviews thus far about the food in the new Dining Hall, and a recommendation to pursue a liquor licence in The Pub was endorsed by Academic Senate, 17-1. Our little commuter campus is growing into a full service residential community.
Boo-ish: It’s still hard to get a bite to eat on campus at certain times, particularly on weekends or late in the evening. One of the eateries in the SU needs to stay open until 2 a.m., which is when the building closes.
Plenty of people hang out and work events in the SU until after midnight, but the market for late-night food  won’t really grow without sustenance.
Most people who know they can’t catch a late dinner in on campus are going to head home rather than make the trip to their car or residence, get food and come back.
Mascot
Whoosh: It’s downright cool that UTD President David Daniel professed his love for Temoc at recent appearances and wants to hear more about the love some Comets still harbor for the big blue guy.
More whoosh? During the mascot redesign process, UTD community members were heavily in favor of calling our mascot “Scorch.” Many mentioned a yearning for a more aggressive comet character. So why not add at least one new persona to the lineup? The word “Comets” is plural, and everything else about the school is growing.
While they’re at it, a female representation of comet-ude could be cool ­— Hailey, anyone? Female and male students alike have worn the costume in support of UTD spirit, and that’s what’s important, but Temoc is often termed male by default.
That seems so last century for a school chasing the future..


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