A quality plan, but needs commitment

Every five years, the university updates its roadmap for the coming projects, changes and improvements in the Strategic Plan. Well, 2012 is the first year for the new plan, and it is being considered by the Board of Trustees this afternoon.

This plan is highly ambitious, including the creation of a massive Engineering/Business Convergence Center, a re-evalua- tion of the general education pro- gram, improvements to the library, feasibility studies for improving or replacing residence halls and the Michel Student Center and enhancing the campus’ environ- mental awareness, to name a few.

In today’s article “Bradley finalizes campus plans for the next five years,” everyone interviewed said similar things: Ranking the goals by importance is nearly impossible because different parts are more or less vital depending on whom you ask.

We hope that’s the case, because otherwise some of these smaller goals, like increased outlets in the library, can easily get lost in the muck of constructing a convergence center, for example.

Students love to complain about the library. And rightfully so, as for many, they spend hours every day there. Ultimately they want updates, something to make their group meeting or all-night- er a bit more comfortable. The plan states that a Library Task Force has recognized needs such as “improvements in our jour- nal databases, communication between our library staff and aca- demic departments, creating new and efficient space for student group study, increased access to electrical power outlets and new furniture to maximize the study environment for our students.” The true test will be whether that plan means putting a new chair in the corner or an overhaul, and we think it’s about time for the latter.

As for assessing feasibility for a new student center, it’s enough that Bradley at least begins planning for one. We don’t expect it to be constructed next year, but the Student Center should be a place students want to gather, a place they wouldn’t mind hanging out or grabbing lunch with a friend. It’s something we want for future students, something we hope the current freshmen can enjoy, and something that we hope the university will seriously consider in the next five years, as it has stated in the plan.

Some of the other smaller goals, like looking at general education, updating security and trying to make this a greener campus, are all just as important to this univer- sity as assessing every residence that houses a student or construct- ing the Engineering/Business Convergence Center, and we are happy to see them taken seriously in this plan. There’s a lot of poten- tial for the next five years, but it is important that the university doesn’t forget that while it’s plan- ning for our future of national distinction, there are students here right now trying to finish research papers in the outdated library.

With the exception of a brand new student center and the convergence center, these are not the most grandiose plans, but they are things you can ask any stu- dent about and they will have an opinion. Other sections of the plan won’t come together until long after most of us have graduated, but the complaints of the students now are the same they were even five years ago; update the cafeteria (check), fix the library and make sure the classes I’m taking are worthwhile.

These are the aspects of university living we deal with every day, so it’s great to see Bradley acknowledging that in the plan. We just hope these are really looked into and taken to heart, as band-aid solutions only postpone the true issues.