Ask Charlotte Answers 11/12/07

Question: Hartwick seems to pride itself on being environmentally friendly. Golisano Hall is to be an entirely green building, the yearly academic themes for the past two years have dealt with sustainability and environmental awareness, and Pine Lake has always been a source of pride and a way to recruit future students. However, this environmental awareness doesn't seem to extend to dorms. Last year, we were promised early in the year that recycling bins would be put in Leitzell. That never happened, and as a result, pounds of recyclable materials were thrown in the garbage. This year in the Townhouses, we also are not supplied with bins, and are forced again to dispose of reusable items, even though our consumption of such material is higher this year, as we have our own kitchens. So, I am wondering if Hartwick's environmental awareness is just a fashionable facade put on for alumni, parents, and foundations that donate money? If so, do you know of any recycling facilities in the area that will deal with everything, and not just redeemable cans and bottles?

Answer: I received a response from Facilities-and they share your frustration! At the start of each year, every residence hall is supplied with recycling containers-and they just as routinely disappear (an alternative use as a "beverage cooler" was mentioned). Leitzell Hall was supplied with four different sets over the past two semesters. The recycling containers for the Townhouses are in the laundry building, by the way-but they also suffer the same fate. It sounds as if you and your colleagues in the Townhouses have an opportunity to take a leadership role and truly make a difference-in educating those who don't understand the importance of recycling. If the recycling bins have disappeared, why not use a garbage bag and identify it as the metal recycling container, and use another for plastics? And, if enough residents make it clear that they feel the recycling bins should be used for their original purpose, perhaps they will mysteriously reappear.

Question: Hi, I was wondering how to obtain a care package? My family would like to send one but I don't know how they would go about it.

Answer: There are several ways to obtain a care package (if, as I suspect, that cookies in a shoebox are a thing of the past!). Aramark offers a wide variety of care packages called Hip Kits. These can be purchased at www.hipkits.com  or by calling toll free 1-877-HIP-KITS. There are many styles and sizes to choose from, and all are shipped directly to the student. As exam week approaches, Study Buddies also are available for sale through Wick SAA (Student Alumni Association). Cards to parents went out last week, so tell your parents to watch their mail!

Question: Is there something wrong with the hot water heaters in Wilder? It seems that at least twice a week I wake up to an extremely cold or lukewarm shower. I hope they aren't waiting until Wilder is renovated to fix the showers!

Answer: It seems as if our Facilities staff is as concerned about this as you are. This is the report I received: We have had three different outside HVAC contractors in over the past several months trying to solve this problem. A new controller has been installed and outside air combustion percentages have been adjusted to alleviate the flame failure. This problem WILL be solved long before any renovations are undertaken.

Question: I'm 25 years old; why do I need my advisor's signature for everything?

Answer: This is a College policy that is in place to ensure that students (of any age) are making the best decisions for their academic progress at Hartwick. Advisors can double-check that the right sequence is being followed in the major, as well as let students know the ramifications (e.g. in financial aid) of dropping a course during the semester, among other valuable information. Why not think of your advisor as a partner in your education-someone who is there to guide you if necessary, and with whom you confer at regular intervals.

Question: The new Web page featuring Hartwick is great but I do have one question. Why does the one screen entitled "Connecting the Classroom to the World" show a college campus that is not Hartwick? Are those supposed to be Hartwick College students on some other campus? If so, I think that message is confusing. Someone not familiar with Hartwick would think that picture is somewhere here. The other two scenes are appropriate--one of our campus and one of students out on a biking trip. Thanks for your response.

Answer: Currently there are three images behind the graphic text of Connecting the Classroom to the World. One is as you describe, Anna Meyer's mountain-biking class up at the top of Table Rock with a view of the Susquehanna Valley below. The main campus shot is of course Frisbee Field and Yager Hall from the Memorial Staircase. The third image, which I believe is the image in question, is of our students abroad in a castle courtyard in the city of Prague, Czech Republic (click here to read the blog from that trip last January Term). The image was selected intentionally because it does show our students in an off- campus setting; in this case a European town square. The Explore banner image is of a Hartwick group in the Himalayan Mountains, a past course that transformed our students' classroom experience. Both these images serve to portray our message of connecting the classroom to the world. The images on the home page will change with time, and all images will continue to be authentic Hartwick images. Link to Prague Blog is http://blogs.hartwick.edu/index.php/prague/

Question: I have a teacher currently who is applying for tenure. I just wanted to know who would I e-mail that is overseeing this authority. I love the teacher I have and would love to tell someone what a great teacher and what a wonderful class this is. Is there anyone who I should send this to that it would actually matter?

Answer: There is, indeed, a process that encourages staff, students, and faculty to contribute their input about a faculty member who is applying for tenure. This generally occurs at the start of the semester, and I'm afraid that the deadline for this feedback (for faculty currently applying) was September 21, 2007.

Question: Charlotte, Why is the bus driver we employ such a grump? He refuses to stop for anyone if they come even 5 seconds late, never allows anyone on the bus if they forget their Hartwick ID, even if he recognizes them, and simply refuses to drop anyone off anywhere else on campus regardless of the weather. With the tuition we're paying, can we please get a nicer bus driver and a better bus system? I'm sick of hearing him complain every time I choose to ride the bus!

Answer: The City of Oneonta is the provider of our campus bus service, and the official in charge of bus service has been notified of your complaint. He will address two issues with the drivers-they should be courteous, and runs should not stop earlier than scheduled. Unfortunately, it may happen that the driver does not see people who are a few seconds late. When leaving, the driver is looking left while the person usually approaches at the curb on the right. If a person strikes the bus, the driver will not stop. A fatality occurred in Oneonta a few years ago when someone chased a bus and was not seen. Students are allowed on the bus without an ID card. In that case, they must pay the 65 cent fee. Hartwick IDs are used to count Hartwick riders who are paid for by the College. Finally, a specific pick-up and drop-off location has been arranged on campus-and this location cannot be changed because of liability issues. Hopefully Hartwick students and Oneonta bus drivers will enjoy a friendlier ride. And please remember that courtesy works both ways!

Question: How come professors are told to save spots for freshmen registering for classes and are told not to sign in seniors (who need the course to graduate on time) during pre-registration?

Answer: I hope you don't mind that I have recycled a similar question from the archives. The issues are quite the same:

Question: "This is a question posed to you by a majority of upperclassmen (seniors and some juniors). We have been unable to register or get in to certain classes we need in order to graduate because places are being held open for honors upperclassmen. While we are sure these students are very bright and entitled to more challenging work, we feel that it is incredibly illogical that we should have to beg and plead and cajole our professors into letting us in to a class when we're very close to graduation. We are seniors; obviously we have taken our work seriously in order to get this far. An honors freshman really shouldn't trump a rising senior. We pay to go here too. Has it always been this way, or has there been an influx of this lately?"

Answer: Seats have been reserved in 100 and 200 level courses for freshmen and sophomores. That Honors students (who may be lower classmen) may sign up for classes along with seniors in the first few days of pre-registration makes it seem as though they are taking seats that should be available to seniors. If you are a senior or junior and this happens to you, I suggest that you contact the instructor, who can use that newfangled WebAdvisor program to see whether students on the roster include lower classmen. If so, the instructor will most likely sign you into this course. Yes, this is a bit of a hassle, but it is necessary to keep seats in those courses available for freshmen and sophomores, who are not qualified to take 300 and 400 level courses offered for upperclassmen.

Question: I took Spanish 101, Intro to Spanish 1 last year and to fulfill the requirement can I take Spanish 2, Intro to Spanish 2 or do I have to take intermediate Spanish?

Answer: In order to fulfill the Language requirement after taking Spanish 101, you may either complete Spanish 102 or a Spanish culture course (such as Spanish 160).

Question: Charlotte - I recently attempted to receive WHS credit for a class I took abroad. I was denied credit for it, which wasn't really a surprise. My question now though, is, why should I have to take a WHS class during my final semester? I know Hartwick wants me to have a well-rounded liberal arts education, etc., etc. But in all seriousness, in my four years as an undergraduate I've attended five different colleges and switched majors four times. I have way more liberal arts classes than most science majors as I studied English/Philosophy for 3 semesters and Political Science during another. So now, in my senior year, I'm finally at the stage in my academic career where I am happy with what I'm studying. And suddenly, I have to take a history class, instead of completing another biology/chemistry class that will ultimately help me do what I want to in life-as well as teach me something that is actually useful and applicable that will possibly become something more than a footnote on my transcript. We can be as idealistic as we want and say how college is a learning experience etc., but for the amount of money I pay to go here I expect that the things I'm learning will steer me in a direction that will possibly allow me to make some sort of living in the future. So tell me dear Charlotte, honestly, how is it at all justifiable or fair that I should have to take a WHS class in the Spring?

Answer: Actually, students don't have to take a WHS in their last semester at Hartwick. Some students, however, choose to leave some curriculum requirements until that time, and it appears you are to be counted among those students! The design of a general education curriculum takes years of careful thought, debate, and deliberation by the entire faculty of the College. Discussions tend to focus on the meaning of a liberally educated person-beyond the narrower confines of the specialties of a major program. The agreed-upon general education curriculum is, essentially, a statement of the qualities that are most valued in the general education of every Hartwick graduate. I am gratified that you have taken so many liberal arts courses in addition to your major program, and I hope that you will find a WHS course that will inspire your curiosity this spring.