“Look at this, so many activities, it’s making my head spin how many activities we could do” – Brennan Huff, Step Brothers. Waikato Uni has a bunch of space that we’re not really using to its full potential. I’d like to see the current trend of removing the buildings that make me feel like i’m getting a degree in the 70s (when degrees actually meant something) and replacing it with a more modern space. Honestly, when was the last time anyone got a valuable days learning using an old overhead projector in the guts of F Block? Modernise, adapt, overcome. Upgrading our educational facilities could go hand in hand with creating a much more energetic student social atmosphere. Actually get the Don doing something other than a $6 steinlager once a month and put a bit more emphasis on taking part in or just attending some sport at “New Zealand’s sports university”.
If the possibilities were endless and designing a campus was up to me, there would be no such thing as dial a Māori for aesthetic purposes. Matariki wouldn’t be a hand-me around poster that is blu-tacked to the wall and left to be covered by flatmates wanted advertisements. Protesting for rights would be something we watch on BBC news rather than out the library window. People of colour wouldn’t feel the need to change from a pākeha voice to their native tongue to fit in. A campus in my hands would be where the LGBTQ+ community would express themselves without limitations, and going to the toilet wouldn’t resort to the disability cubical to avoid confrontation. The buzzy thing about having these hopes and dreams is that none of the above is a financial issue, nor is it impossible to achieve. It is free to accept, understand, and appreciate those who are around you. A cosmetic change is far from what we need to redesign this campus; instead, utilise what we have already, but with respect.
I am of the school that the environments that we inhabit play a role in our development. In the modern era, the way we think about the world, and the way we feel in it, are influenced significantly by our built environments. As you travel around the world and explore these environments in other countries, you realise that in New Zealand this human-centred design ideal has historically been a bit shit. As an example, look no further than an hour north at the clusterfuck that is Auckland City Council’s urban planning. Yeah, enough said. We can, and we really should, do a lot better in this respect. We have the potential to shape our future by improving the way we design the spaces we inhabit towards restorative, green, ecologically-influenced environments closer to those our species evolved in over millennia. We have to start somewhere, so we started here on campus. In the immortal words of Kevin Costner’s schizophrenic Field of Dreams episode: if you build it, they will come. “They” being the ghosts of dead baseball players. Or in our case, hopefully not dead students.
I am on the younger side of the editorial team, and throughout this year I have always pitched my tone as the more typical student who loves to socialise and get amongst the normal student life. I like beers. So when we got the chance to do an issue on completely redesigning the campus, I was pretty excited for it. One thing I feel like we’ve always lacked on campus is a regular bar. Canterbury has Mono, Dunedin has Starters and Pint Night, Auckland has Shadows, Massey has The Ferguson, and we have The Don. It doesn’t really see much action as opposed to the weekly stuff at the other universities. That’s one thing I’d like to see improve around here, let’s say $10 jugs every Thursday here on campus. I know I’d go, that would be great. Let’s just hope Quigley hasn’t gotten too sick of my editorials so he actually reads this one.