About a year from now, Baxter Hall will go offline as extensive renovations on the space that serves as the hub of our campus â€“ that houses the mailroom, organization offices, dining halls and the venerable snack bar â€“ commence. Even the most optimistic estimates hold that, of the current student body, only the first-years will see the project’s completion. The rest of us will be left to finish our Williams career amidst the confusion caused not only by the loss of a student center, but also by the construction work on both Baxter and the new performing arts center.
Rather than sacrificing the Williams experience for a few classes as the cost of future improvements, during this difficult time the administration must increase its commitment to improving campus life. All spaces across campus â€“ academic, social and administrative â€“ must be reevaluated to ensure efficient, productive usage. Specifically, Goodrich and the Log must fill the void left by Baxter in ways that provide for the campus community’s needs and that promote connection amongst students, faculty, and staff.
But space-shuffling is not enough: College officials must undertake new initiatives to ensure that current students’ time at Williams is not marred by the work that should ultimately better future students’ time here. Whether such initiatives come in the form of a stronger administrative commitment to improving the residential life system or increases in funding for cultural and social events, they must serve a dual purpose: They must aim not only to correct for the difficulties of the next few years, but also to achieve lasting progress in areas of campus life that, while certainly less tangible, are no less important than new buildings.
Adam Grogg ’04
Student Centers Manager