Today was the second day back at school for those of us that are attending, which means the hard part of anticipating and deciding is over. Now, all that is left, is to find groups for the classes that require them, buy the text books (if you’re like me and wait as long as possible to buy them) and pretend that everything is under control as professors act like the class understands the subject matter. I may jest a little bit.
This year, like the last few years, it feels that the Simon Fraser University (SFU) has once again enrolled far to many students than the school has capacity to handle. Yes, the hallways may be able to actually hold that many students, but does the school have enough capacity to transport the students, teach the students, give access to necessary labs, and give the attention to student facilities that each student requires when spending all day on the campus?
I don’t think they do.
Most people in the lower mainland either know somebody or themselves have heard of the horrors of the 145 city bus that takes students from Production Way skytrain station up the hill to SFU. I have very rarely been on the bus when it’s not jam packed and the doors have a hard time shutting. The only times that I have the luxury of not being in this situation, is after 3 going up the hill, contrary to most of the traffic.
Also, washrooms, food services, and relaxing places to sit while on break are at a premium. It takes a lot of searching and scoping out to actually find somewhere that one can sit down and relax. If you’re buying food on campus, you know you’re going to have to wait for a while. I wont even get started with a day of washroom use.
My best guess is that this enrollment is to combat the cuts of government funding we have been seeing over the last few years. A Canadian Government report from 2005 states that government funding per student is below that of 1992-93, with the actual allocation mechanisms and regulatory bodies for these funds and funding becoming more complicated due to heightened university interest, and the tightened restrictions and auditing.
In spite all this, I suppose I am just lamenting over the relaxing atmosphere of the summer semester spent up the hill on campus. The hallways were relatively empty, grassy knolls were plentiful, and no lineups anywhere!
In the end, it’s great to see there are so many students going to school, furthering their education. No amount of full classes or waits in line can get away from the fact that education will grow our society and provide a better environment for the future. I can only hope that the quality of the teachers increases because of this status: over capacity, rather than a deterioration of teacher morale with regards to un-attentive students and lack of administration support.
Images courtesy of Ned Tobin.