BY JACOB TROXELL
Salisbury University has undergone a number of major and minor changes in recent years, some of them positive and some negative. Here’s a list of the Flyer’s top five best and worst changes to SU.
- Academic Buildings Upgrades. The construction on the new Academic Commons is underway and (somewhat) recent additions of the Teachers Education and Technology Center in 2008 and the Perdue Business School in 2010 have attracted record numbers of students and given SU the modern look and feel it needed. The Academic Commons will also feature a much needed cafeteria, just the second one on campus. Unlike some other schools, SU focuses on upgrading its academic buildings ahead of other facilities, like they should. The Academic Commons will be the most popular building on SU’s campus for years to come.
- Common Food. It’s improving. Sometimes the broccoli still tastes like rubber and it’s far from a five star restaurant, but give it credit for getting better. Too many students complain when they don’t use everything commons has to offer. The grill station in the center will make nearly anything from sandwiches to quesadillas with anything you want on them. Chicken nuggets, Strips of Fire and tequila lime chicken have emerged as solid options too, so students can ease up on bashing The Commons.
- Canvas. Much cleaner and easier to use than Blackboard, Canvas makes viewing class assignments and grades much easier. The mobile application is much faster than Blackboard and makes it simpler to navigate through sections.
- The Downtown Trolley. While not necessarily a SU change, it definitely affects SU greatly. The addition of the Downtown Trolley has greatly helped with the connection of SU and Salisbury’s Downtown. The ability to ride the trolley cheaply from Thursday night to Saturday night helps many college students who don’t have cars or that might be too intoxicated to drive. Having the ability to have a permanent designated driver, means everyone gets to have fun.
- Students Staying United. Not everyone is going to see eye-to-eye on everything, but on the issues that matter, SU students unite together. After an SU student was injured in a shooting last year, hundreds gathered in Red Square to support her days after, and t-shirts were sold to help support her. Other campus events like Stop Hatin’ Week show the true nature of SU students and how they respect others.
- Size of Commons. When a school increases its number of students by over 25 percent in a nine-year span, like it did from fall 2005 to this past fall, it needs to be able to feed them, especially those who do not have full kitchens in their dorms. The new cafeteria in the Academic Commons should even out the on-campus lunch and dinner rushes, but until then The Commons will have 20 foot lines out of The Bistro every other night.
- Handling of Winter Weather. This one is just Salisbury in general. After multiple winter storms have come through Salisbury this semester, snowplows have been busy clearing streets so school can stay in session, but they haven’t necessarily done a great job. After a winter storm dropped over a half dozen inches of snow in the Lower Eastern Shore area on February 17, University Police sent out an email to all students saying they could move their cars back on campus that afternoon, even though multiple SU parking lots remained unplowed until the following afternoon, a day when SU had class, while Wicomico County Schools did not. It was a total joke. The GUC lot had been partially plowed, but was still a mess and nobody even touched the Sea Gull Square student lot until the day after. Popular off-campus student housing locations such as University Park and University Orchard, New and Old Zoo were also poorly, if at all plowed, causing some students to claim they couldn’t get to class. Yeah, your street should have been plowed, but it’s not like you had to trek through the Arctic to get to class either.
- Maggs PAC. The $19 million upgrade to Sea Gull Stadium is great for varsity athletics and is sure to draw in some big corporate sponsors, but unless you’re a varsity athlete you can’t use it and the rest of SU is left in the (mostly) non-air-conditioned gym. Not only that, but the weight room Maggs is always packed and there are often times where students have no indoor space to exercise when varsity teams are using both the upstairs and downstairs gym for practices. Upgrades in these areas would benefit both students, club, intramural and varsity teams.
- GullNet. Compared to any other website on the world wide web, it looks like the first website ever created frozen in time. It gets the job done, but it has no mobile web functionality and can be confusing to navigate through the cluttered main menu if you aren’t used to it.
- Teachers Not Using Blackboard/Canvas. Students pay a lot of money to get their college education, not for lazy professors to take weeks to post a single assignment grade. Some never even post grades or assignments at all. If professors expect students to respond and complete assignments in a timely matter, the same should go for grades. Slow grading/feedback can often hurt students who need to learn what they did wrong on a previous assignment and how to improve on it so they can learn and get the most out of their education. When your parents ask you what grade you have in a class, your answer should never be “I don’t know.” As long as students are getting feedback in a timely manner and know grade-wise where they are in a class, it shouldn’t matter if you use Blackboard, but it’s probably easier for both parties if a teacher chooses to use online student services.