April is tough. I see that my fellow columnists, Pearl and Siarra, missed last week’s deadline. I nearly did too, and only finished my full column too late. It’s hard to keep up. But May is coming and a different pace.
Apropos of May, my suggestion at the Sustainability Summit last week was that we move the school year forward four weeks. Given that students return to air-conditioned classrooms and housing (most of them anyway) during the hottest time of the year in August and then leave again when it is normally delightful in May, shifting the start of the school year till after Labor Day would result in a significant energy saving. Apropos of sustainability, the Edmondson Dining Hall will be composting next year, picked up by the Local Growers’ Guild.
Wednesday (the day the Columns comes out) we are having a Town Hall Meeting at 6pm to discuss a few specific issues – gender-blind and co-op floors (see below) and Collins’ ‘official’ core values – but it will also be an occasion to explore any issues Collinsites might care to bring up. What is working at Collins? What should change? What do you just want to gripe about? Wil, Yara and I (at least) will all be there.
The gender-blind floor has indeed been postponed till next year. As it turned out, the necessary bathroom construction is less expensive on Greene 1. Coupled with the fact that only three returning students had signed up, it seemed (to me anyway) to make sense to try again next year with better marketing (for Greene 1). I do appreciate the thoughtful comments in last week’s Columns on this issue. It may or may not be that people have misunderstood the point of these floors, but in any case we cannot institute a control for personal motivations to sign up, whether for gender-mixed on Cravens 2 (with separate sex bathrooms) or gender-blind in Greene (with gender-blind bathrooms). In some ways Collins is the worst place to introduce these floors. Our buildings are old and retrofitting them to accommodate new needs is difficult and expensive. It would make lots more sense to introduce gender neutral floors in some of the new RPS construction (of which there is plenty). Perhaps down the road, bathrooms on the main quad (or in one building of the main quad) will be re-designed to accommodate gender-blindness, but not, I’d predict, before all current Collinsites have graduated. Meanwhile we have an option in Greene and need to decide how to proceed. If people don’t want to live on the Hill, then maybe we should give up the effort. (And the co-op floor(s) would very likely go in Brown.) Years ago Collinsites fought to keep the Hill from being taken over for other purposes. That spirit seems to have expired. I could go on, but will save that for the meeting.
I did see and very much enjoy Falstaff on Saturday evening (last IU opera performance of the season). My favorites were the young lovers, Nannetta and Fenton, though the Falstaff was also excellent (indeed the whole cast was). But April as I said is tough. Attending Falstaff meant missing the African-American Chorale Ensemble’s spring concert and also Bach’s B-minor Mass (Bloomington Chamber Singers and the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra). Afterward I ran into Collinsites who had been to see Ladies First. Better too much to do than too little, I guess. Meanwhile Collinsfest continued into the night. I attended the opening hours. The balloon arch was a wondrous if fleeting thing to see. I believe we got some photos as the stiff winds whisked it across the background of blue and spotty clouds over and past Geology. But no mind, the bouncy castle bounced; the grill got going; the music too; and all seemed to enjoy themselves. Congratulations BOP on a great effort and successful event.
Oh yeah, Little 5 this weekend, but you probably knew that. The signs are already all around us. Go Buccaneers! Collins meanwhile has alternative activities in Gnomes on Bikes and a BOEP-sponsored Shakespeare Birthday celebration.
Professor of History
Director, Collins LLC
16 April 2013