Sam Salkin: What’s on the menu this summer?

The sun has finally come out for good and Kogan Plaza is packed at all hours of the day. Finals are coming up and the lines stretching out of Gelman Starbucks are worse than those at Dulles Airport on Christmas Eve. The academic year is winding down here in Foggy Bottom, and aside from a few nostalgic seniors, pretty much everyone is ready to be done.

Much like your typical student, the University has its own plans for the summer. Thurston Hall is being closed so GW can upgrade everything from carpets to elevators to the sprinkler system. The Columbian College of Arts and Sciences is transitioning to a new dean. Also, who could forget about the shift to our new leader, President Steven Knapp?

Still, GW could add a few other, smaller things to its already appetizing plate. These don’t necessarily have to be completed this summer, but rather this list should serve as a guide for continuing improvement to the University. Some of these items might seem pesky and others might seem petty, but in the end, it can be the small things that make a world of difference.

Outlets on campus probably don’t seem to be a big issue. In the grand scheme of things, it ranks low on the priority list when matched up against big issues of the day. Still, I find it amazing that in this mobile age, one can never find space to plug in around campus. Some of GW’s most popular study spaces, such as J Street, Ivory Tower and the Gelman Library Starbucks are severely lacking enough outlets for everyone. This seems like a simple problem to fix.

As you’re sitting there waiting for your turn to plug in your laptop, you may have noticed those posters making puns with the word “hold” popping up on campus. That can only mean one thing: registration time. It’s not the poster that I hate so much as the message it conveys. Academic holds are an unnecessary nuisance for GW students after their freshman year. We all need advisors, but at a certain point, undergrads should be able to figure out for themselves which classes they’d like and need to take.

In larger departments, barely any human interaction is needed to lift a hold, thus negating the whole purpose behind them. Furthermore, there is no reason why certain schools continue to put holds on their students’ accounts and others do not. For first- and second-time registrants, a trip to their advisor is a necessary step, but does a senior really need to take time to schedule an appointment for their final classes?

For anyone in the Columbian College, chances are you’ve had one of those ridiculous days where six or seven e-mails come at you in a span of 5 minutes. The Student Activities Center got the idea right when they instituted the GWeekly e-mail that sends one weekly, comprehensive list of things going on at GW. Other departments, especially CCAS, should take heed and try to send weekly digests instead of these bursts of multiple e-mails. And if GW won’t do that, at least switch everyone to Gmail for the extra storage space.

Chances are that the last time you were asked whether your University has grassy, pastoral land, you replied with something to the effect of, “Fear not, we have the University Yard!” Lets be serious people, University Yard is tantamount to a photo of the Dust Bowl in some social studies textbook. This space cannot be our grassy oasis in big, urban D.C. if the grass is dead. It’s been reseeded time and time again, but GW should find a way to keep this green space green.

So instead of lifeguarding at a swimming pool in some suburb or giving tours of the Capitol to summer camp groups, GW should focus on some of the other work that needs to be done on campus. This list is by no means exhaustive, but little quality-of-life issues like these could be tackled easily and effectively over the summer.

So put in those outlets and reconsider advising during those hazy D.C. summer days. And while you’re at it, maybe simplify all that software you make us put on our computers to just get on the Internet? And maybe after that … okay, okay, I’ll stop!

-The writer, a junior majoring in geography, is a Hatchet columnist.

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