March 5, 2018 —
Stop with the entrepreneurial campaign
While commuting to campus last week, I saw an advertisement for the University of Calgary at an LRT station. It was part of the school’s campaign for its “entrepreneurial campus.” “What’s the R.O.I. on children’s mental health?” the ad asked.
This is part of a schtick the U of C’s been pulling for the last year or so in an attempt to conflate societal goods with “entrepreneurship.” See also the UToday article that credits the success of the Students’ Union Campus Food Bank — a service necessary to combat the food poverty some students experience because of the financial burdens of post-secondary education — to “entrepreneurial spirit.”
But this particular ad ascends to a whole new level of fucked-up. It presents the idea that the correct way to approach the issue of children’s mental health is through entrepreneurship. Profits or “return on investment” shouldn’t be the motivation for in the pursuit of better mental health services for children. The care and compassion that children’s treatments necessitate runs entirely contrary to the concept of “entrepreneurship.” Solutions to these kinds of societal issues should address the structural problems that currently exacerbate them. For a start, there are socioeconomic factors that inhibit some from accessing mental health services at all. The U of C’s research needs to address those instead of co-opting issues of public health as acts of goodwill, when the only visible outcome is increased social and financial capital for the U of C itself.
Slow walkers in hallways are the worst
A typical morning for many students consists of either a too-hot or too-cold double-double, a headache from lack of sleep and of course, being stuck behind a slow walker in the U of C’s hallways. Not content with moving aside to allow student traffic to flow steadily, the slow walker insists on occupying the centre of a pathway, leading to the innocent student’s late arrival to a lecture.
There are numerous reasons as to why a slow walker emerges. However, there are three specific types to look out for on campus — people studying on the go, people hauling all of their possessions around with them and those who use hallways for chatting rather than hustling from class to class. Each brings their own risks and annoyances.
These slow walkers are a serious impediment to transitioning from one lecture to another. Stay alert!
Upper floors of TFDL should be silent
As many students know, the upper floors of the TFDL are designated ‘quiet study areas.’ Large signs inform you of this as soon as you step off the elevators, adding the aside, “Please respect the rights of others and refrain from conversations on this floor.” These areas theoretically provide spaces on campus where students can work without disruptions or distractions.
Unfortunately, these signs tend to be ignored. The area in front of these giant signs is where many students take phone calls and have conversations. Throughout the winter reading break, the amount of conversations loudly occurring by the elevators on the sixth floor was astonishing — especially considering the stairs’ corridor is right beside them, which is the only appropriate place for conversation on the upper floors of TFDL. For those trying to work in this space, even minuscule distractions like these become annoying in a very short amount of time.
These spaces should be deemed silent areas rather than mere quiet areas. Labelling the floors as silent would in itself hold more weight and send a clearer message to those who abuse these floors than the current messaging does. This silent system works in other libraries, so why not here?
TFDL is more valuable than Google Scholar
Most students hate libraries, but there is a reason they still exist. They are the best resource students have to conduct undergraduate research. Some students prefer Google Scholar, but they should reconsider. Here’s why:
First of all, the library has a huge collection of databases. It has everything from American History in Video to the Plants Database. The databases are specifically curated towards targeted subjects. Say you need some journal articles on the topic of Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor. Google Scholar, a database itself, is useless. Any of the 51 history databases the library provides would more than suffice.
Not to mention, the library has librarians. These people have graduate degrees in conducting proper research and organizing data so that others can research too. They also love to help students out. You know how you can Google the answers to most problems today? Librarians know the mechanics behind that and they’re willing to help you better your research.
Lastly, if we don’t use it, we’ll lose it. By supporting the library, we can ensure that they maintain access to as many resources as possible. Google Scholar is good, but I associate it with lazy, only-reading-the-abstract research that is written based on preconceptions and later backed up by targeted searching for supportive publications. The honest way to do research is to start with an exhaustive search. The library can help you do that — Google Scholar cannot.