By JULIA MARI T. ORNEDO
THE ST. RAYMUND de Peñafort building has not aged well. Like an ailing elderly man, the 54-year-old building finds itself plagued with more and more problems every year.
The toilets in the building have never known the sight of clear water; the faucets, on occasion, dispense hot water without so much as a gentle transition from lukewarm; the airconditioners in certain rooms are either defunct or their temperature is impossible to turn up without asking the tallest student in class to step on a chair; some classrooms are too small to accommodate an entire class but are cramped with chairs anyway.
With the emergence of technology also came more “high tech” problems for Artlets: VGA or HDMI cables that don’t work, laptops that are a cesspool of computer viruses and projectors that take ages to set up properly.
This is the sorry state of facilities and equipment in the Faculty. It is shameful to think that the home of a number of Centers of Excellence and Development and the breeding ground of brilliant young minds is being maintained so poorly, if at all.
This is not to say that the maintenance staff in the Faculty fall short of their responsibilities. If anything, the beloved janitors and janitresses of AB go above and beyond their job description daily, always readily responding to concerns of students and tirelessly mopping and waxing the floors. One cannot blame them for being unable to fix and clean what has always been broken and dirty.
To a lesser extent, one cannot fault student leaders, either. There have been attempts from the Artlets Student Council (ABSC) through the years to bring the students’ grievances regarding the facilities and equipment to the Faculty administration, yet not much has improved. The local Red Cross Youth Council unit even recently attempted to provide soap and tissue at the restrooms, a venture that proved too costly and difficult to maintain for a mere student organization.
Still, the ABSC must never tire of fighting for better facilities and equipment because these affect students—themselves included—on a daily basis. More importantly, the Faculty administration must begin to take more seriously the grievances of Artlets on the matter and find ways to act more swiftly on them. After all, a world-class liberal arts college must also be able to boast of world-class facilities and equipment.
Although they are within their right to demand better service from higher-ups, Artlets should not merely stop at that; they must also effect change themselves by taking better care of the equipment they borrow and by practicing proper bathroom etiquette to maintain the cleanliness of the restrooms. It would not be wrong for the administration to defend themselves on this issue by arguing that, ultimately, it is the students who bring these problems upon themselves.
Every year, thousands of students pay tens of thousands of pesos expecting to receive nothing but the best from a university as prestigious as UST and a college as decorated as AB; the administration and students should work doubly harder together to maintain this image by ensuring that all aspects of campus life are at par with the University’s high academic standards. The call for improved facilities and equipment in the Faculty is a two-way street that requires cooperation among all the concerned parties. F