Baylor renovations should focus on current students’ needs

By Jessika Harkay | Contributor

It wasn’t surprising that when Baylor announced its new billion dollar campaign, it would highlight the renovations of two buildings that rarely impact student life: The Welcome Center and Ferrell Center.

Since becoming a full-time student, I’ve been to the welcome center once, which was for a class assignment. The only reason I can think of for making my way over there is if I were a student ambassador who worked there. Most students that I’ve talked to about this have agreed with me.

In fact, being curious, I even went as far as to make a social media poll, and the results spoke for themselves. Ninety-two percent of students who took the poll said that as a full-time Baylor student, they haven’t been toward that area of campus, a few even asked where it was.

The Ferrell Center is a little more understandable, figuring how Division One sports are the epitome of the college experience. But in all honesty, how much is the Ferrell Center’s renovation needed?

The idea of what, Baylor athletic director Mack Rhoades described to the Waco Tribune-Herald as a “more intimate setting” during basketball and volleyball games just seems like a fluffed justification of spending money where it’s not needed and funneling millions of dollars into the athletic department rather than areas on campus that need improvement.

A few weeks ago, one of my friends got stuck in an elevator that stalled for longer than usual, flooding is a common recurrence on campus, and there are buildings like Moody Memorial Library, Draper Academic Building and Castellaw Communications Center that remind you that Baylor was founded 1845.

At the end of the day, this points to where the university’s interests lie. Of course, it’s essential to understand that a college is a business, and part of a university’s goal is to sell an experience to entice future prospects.

But realistically, with how much the idea of success and the idea of family is emphasized, I would expect Baylor to take care of its own: those who are here right now. Those who are apart of the Baylor family. Those who are contributing to the environment here daily. Those who will continue to contribute to the reputation of the school after their education.

The university’s focus should be on bettering every single one of its departments and creating an educational environment that is unmatched — striving to make every department as competitive and prestigious as pre-med, law or business.

Improve Draper Academic Building, a building almost every student has taken a class in. Improve Castellaw Communications Center, the home of award winning publications that no one seems to know about. Improve campus’ draining that holds students back from going to classes when water is over six inches. Improve little things such as outlets in Moody Memorial Library’s study rooms. Take care of the problems in front of us, and that alone will not only set Baylor apart from other universities, but also lives up to the ideals — that Baylor puts its students first — that are preached to us at our first visiting tour.

Tidwell Bible Building is said to be on the list for improvements, which I think excites students and is important to understanding the full campaign that is overshadowed by highlighting the wrong aspects of campus.

Highlight the scholarships that will be given. Highlight what will additions will benefit our student body. Put an emphasis on what matters to the majority of students. Lastly, put the majority of the money raised back into the Baylor community and where it will make a difference.

Baylor’s focus should be long term. It should focus on the students who have committed their time and money into this university and hope to see every dollar used wisely and invested back into them, rather than mainly appealing to future prospects and funding athletics which don’t necessarily need it.

The excellence of this school and its educational facilities should be enticing, not renovations that are attractive to fresh faces and don’t improve the quality of the overall campus, student life or education.

Jessika is a freshman journalism major from Vail, Colo.