Letters to the Editor

Tech lacks adequate study spaces

Tech may be highly ranked in all departments, but there’s one area that it seriously sucks: study space.
Tonight, I was kicked out of a classroom in the College of Management while quietly studying because according to the rather rude administrator kicking me out, “All of the classrooms are now closed.” While the reasoning behind the closure—’dirty’ classrooms in the morning from late night study sessions—is a point to consider, Tech and now the College of Management have succeeded in taking away most of the available study space we have on campus.

Past 7 p.m., the 12,000 or more undergraduates on campus now have the following options: the probably 100-200 total person capacity breakout rooms in the College of Management, the library (which is always completely crowded whenever serious studying needs to be done), a few rooms in Klaus if they are not full, and small niches around campus here and there.

As it stands now, the amount of students at Tech needing a place to study grossly outnumbers the available spaces. My challenge to each and every Tech department? Grow up, get into the 21st century and give all students general Buzzcard access to all buildings on campus that have legitimate late night study spaces that are not being fully utilized. And while you’re at it, get rid of the purported sense of elitism (I’m looking at you especially College of Management) that you are trying to culture. We’re all part of Tech, so let’s stop acting like children and share the space resources we have.

Nicholas Sondej
Third-year ME

Green fee will improve campus

The response to state budget shortfalls has been to increase education costs for students. Meanwhile, rising energy costs continue to increase campus operating budgets. It is obvious that environmental and economic sustainability go hand-in-hand, yet the primary barrier to clean, renewable energy on campus is a lack of funding. Investments in sustainability on campus will save Georgia Tech money long-term via reduced energy and water bills, reducing future operating costs. Because of this I support the proposed campus Sustainability Fee.

Increasing investments in sustainability will most certainly have a direct impact on students. By improving sustainability on campus we will improve the health and well-being of everyone on campus. We should also consider benefits to people and ecosystems around the world, as well as future generations. For just $3 per student, we would raise about $60,000 each semester for sustainable initiatives. These investments will decrease our utility bills and also help reduce waste, pollution and our dependence on foreign oil. Many colleges have already adopted a sustainability fee, and I am disappointed to see Tech falling behind its peers in this regard.

Some argue that we are doing well at promoting sustainability on campus and don’t need further investment. I beg to differ. We are a technological institute, yet the only form of renewable energy on campus comes from 15 year old solar panels on top of the CRC. We should invest in renewable energy on campus and fund innovative solutions to energy and environmental challenges we face.

Students Organizing for Sustainability (SOS) and the SGA Sustainability Committee have submitted a poll to be voted on in the April elections to gauge student sentiment towards increased sustainability investments on campus. We are considering making the Sustainability Fee optional and have researched many options for how to distribute the raised funds, but are open to new ideas. We want this to be designed by students, so that the student body is proud of it. It is clear that Georgia Tech students care about environmental and economic sustainability, and we are working to create an easy, inexpensive way for us to positively impact both.

Molly McLaughlin
President, Students Organizing for Sustainability

Nuclear tragedy put in perspective
In response to Japan’s recent endurance of one of the highest-magnitude earthquakes ever recorded, followed by a massive tsunami, the situation at Japan’s nuclear reactor facility, Fukushima Dai-ichi, needs to be placed in perspective.

This accident was the result of one of the most devastating natural disasters in human history and should be categorized as a worst-case scenario. While any loss of life is indeed incredibly tragic, the American Nuclear Society’s Nuclear Café Blog reports the current death toll from problems at Fukushima Daiichi as one; Chernobyl, the worst nuclear accident in history, resulted in 30 deaths as a direct result from the explosion and 28 deaths due to acute radiation sickness several weeks later (World Nuclear Association). Meanwhile, 48 people died in coal mining accidents in the U.S. in 2010 (U.S. Department of Labor), and approximately 13,000 more die each year due to coal-fired plant air pollutants in the U.S. (Clean Air Task Force). When considering loss of life caused by various energy sources, the worst day in nuclear history pales in comparison to an average day in the coal industry. And I strongly believe that nuclear power is the large-scale answer to an exponentially growing need for clean and reliable energy.

It’s neither with insensitivity nor nonchalance that I present this comparison of the effects of nuclear power versus its alternatives. Japan’s devastation certainly will have lasting effects on its nation, but they will not be as a result of modern-day nuclear power.

Christina Neesen
President, American Nuclear Society

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