Ask Charlotte Answers 12/01/07

My friends, this will be my last column of 2007. I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy holiday and a peaceful and prosperous New Year! Be sure to enjoy your time with family and friends to the fullest-until we meet again in 2008! ... Charlotte

Question: I am very interested in recycling and I encourage others to do so but in the basement of my dorm hall (Smith) there are only three recycling bins and they don't include regular paper-like the bins that are in Clark and Dewar for example. Who can I speak to about this? I think if we're going to recycle, there should be opportunities to recycle everything...and I am interested in making it known to others that recycling should occur for good reasons. I'm not sure who to talk to so I hope you can help.

Answer: I applaud your interest in recycling! You may have seen a similar issue addressed last month on this Web site, when it was explained that many recycling bins disappear from their original sites and end up with functions other than recycling bins….Happily, a recycling bin can be made of varied materials, as long as it is well-marked. I would suggest that you find a cardboard box (the empty copy paper boxes that most offices regularly produce would be ideal) and mark clearly upon it 'NEWSPAPER' or 'WHITE PAPER,' depending on your recycling needs, and place it amongst the recycling bins. That should be adequate to alert your colleagues in Smith and those individuals who maintain your hall.

Question: I know it's late in the semester for this kind of complaint, but I'm getting really annoyed. I'm in a Curriculum 21 class that I don't particularly want to take, and we're behind in the syllabus by a month. We just finished something that we should have been learning before October break. My professor has tenure, and I wonder why he does. He cannot keep the class under control, which is part of the reason we're so behind. If a student strays from the topic, the professor will allow them to take up almost 20 minutes of our 55 talking about things that aren't even related to the discussion topic. When we have tests, which is often, I feel unprepared because we do not discuss the readings thoroughly enough. I feel very cheated because registration insisted I take this course, something I'm not interested in, but then the professor doesn't even have the professionalism to see it through to the end of the material or keep a firm hand on the classroom. First I have to pay for a class I don't even want to take, and now we're hardly even learning anything. What can I do or say to this professor to make things change? Several of us have already spoken up about this issue, but nothing seems to work.

Answer: I'm sorry your class has been such a disappointment to you. As you know, Hartwick is strongly committed to the liberal arts and sciences, and requires that all students take a broad array of courses under the umbrella of general education. Many students find exposure to courses outside of their area of specialization exciting and stimulating-and at the very least these courses are meant to broaden the learning horizons of students. I must say, though, that I'm a bit puzzled by your simultaneous complaint of not being interested in the subject, and feeling that you have been cheated out of your fair share of it. The teaching style of your professor is really a separate issue. Some professors adhere very strictly to their syllabus; yours seems to revel in the insights and discussions that arise as a result of what is on the syllabus. College-and life in general-requires that we be able to adapt to many styles of teaching, learning, and communication. That said, I would suggest that you and your similarly disgruntled colleagues use the evaluation forms that are offered at the end of the term to voice your opinion of the class and the professor.

Question: How come it is required that most students in their junior year and under must live on campus? I've thought this through and through and could not come up with a reasonable answer. Does Hartwick even have a reasonable answer?

Answer: Hartwick is a residential liberal arts and sciences college and believes that a Hartwick education is the result of curricular and co-curricular experiences in class, on campus, and in the residences. The residential experience is a key aspect of the educational process. Living in residence, students gain experience in self-governance, individual and social responsibility, and acceptance of different lifestyles and values. Residence life seeks to provide an educational environment conducive to the personal growth of each student. This, as well as having the ability to house most of our student body through their junior year, is most beneficial to the entire College population. There are some ways for students to be allowed to live off campus before their senior year: living in recognized Greek houses as a recognized Greek member; going through the "special accommodations housing" options (http://www.hartwick.edu/x2965.xml#Housing ); and a junior lottery (which is based on the need to accommodate students of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year classes). The junior lottery happens only if there is a need, and it will take place in the spring. If you have any further housing questions, please contact The Office of Residential Life and Housing at x4501.

Question: My question involves Pine Lake. I've noticed a lot is being done to find a new lake director and everything, and it's appreciated. I believe Pine Lake is an integral part of the Hartwick experience, but the living conditions really need to be improved. Why are they focusing on building a new stage, and finishing a half-built Hill 'n Dale cabin when the other cabins are falling into disrepair? These cabins cost us upward of $2,000 a semester and some have outdated electric, leaking roofs, rotting floors, and poor insulation. Why can't we focus on fixing what we have before we start new building projects? Obviously, with every student being charged a $15 Pine Lake fee, they can afford to install up-to-date electric and perhaps insulate them.

Thank you to John Anderson for his help with this:

Answer: To my knowledge, there are no leaky roofs, but any situations like that should be directed to the resident manager, Peter Blue, so they can be addressed immediately.

The Stage is being funded out of the Pine Lake Activity fee and a private gift for which we are grateful.

The Pine Lake activity fee is meant to improve services and activities at Pine Lake for all students at Hartwick College, not just residents of Pine Lake. Students have input on how that money is spent. The College recognizes that there are upgrades and maintenance issues at Pine Lake as there are on the main campus.

Much progress has been made in addressing issues such as:

  • New roofs on Robertson, the Farmhouse, and Vaudevillian
  • Remodeling of office space to bedroom in the farmhouse
  • Solar installation
  • A garden
  • New lodge furnace and improved heat in the kitchen (underway)
  • Roof on Outback 3
  • New docks
  • Seven new canoes and paddles (PL fee)
  • Upgrading all Outback cabin bathrooms
  • Installing double-pane replacement windows in Lodge, Farmhouse, and Manager's house
  • Landscaping around the Lodge, gardens, and Vaudevillian

More needs to be done, and a list of priorities for the future has been developed.

Question: When will they begin posting class schedules and enrollment like they do now but with the new curriculum requirements?

Answer: This transition is in process as I write-and should be in place by April 2008, in time for pre-registering for fall courses. Faculty in academic departments and divisions have been undertaking the painstaking task of providing a curricular designation for every single course in the College since early November, when the requirements of the new general education curriculum were formally approved